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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), in association with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Lockheed Martin, and Aerojet Rocketdyne, successfully conducted a second flight test for the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) hypersonic missile.
The test was conducted during March, though its details were withheld after the war in Ukraine, during which Russia had already claimed to have used a hypersonic missile. Following an experiment with a hypersonic cruise missile conducted by the US already in 2021, this is the US’ second attempt. newatlas.com reported that the missile was dropped from a B-52 bomber and, after reaching a speed exceeding Mach 5, flew for more than 20,000 meters, and at a distance exceeding 300 nanometers (555 km).
There are several different kinds of hypersonic missiles that fly at speeds above five times the speed of sound. In order to maintain flight, HAWC missiles use air-breathing engines that allow them to fly at lower altitudes and maneuver over long distances, successfully reaching their target and destroying it with kinetic energy instead of explosives.
In spite of the fact that the data is still being analyzed, the research team felt that the new missile had passed the second test successfully, and expressed the hope that it may soon be used by American Air and Navy forces to diversify their technology arsenals.