The United States discreetly tested a hypersonic missile that flew 500 kilometres in only 5 minutes.

This is a significant step forward for the United States’ hypersonic weapons programme, which is currently lagging behind Russia and China.

In mid-March, the US military successfully tested a hypersonic missile, but kept the development quiet to prevent inflaming tensions with Russia during President Joe Biden’s European tour.

The HAWC hypersonic missile was launched from a B-52 bomber off the coast of the United States, according to the official, and this is the first time Lockheed Martin has successfully tested it.

The booster stage assisted the rocket in reaching the requisite speed during the test, after which the scramjet engine was ignited and drove the projectile away at Mach 5 (6,174 km/h). Hypersonic weapon’s minimum speed

Our source just gave us the basics regarding the test, such as that the missile flew about 480 kilometres and reached a height of around 19,800 metres. It is known that even in the final phase, HAWC maintains a speed of above 6,000 km/h. It flew 480 kilometres in just 5 minutes.

The test comes only days after Russia used the Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile for the first time in Ukraine. Pentagon officials, on the other hand, grossly underestimated the significance of Kinzhal missiles in this conflict.

Mr. Biden was preparing for a visit to NATO partners in Europe, including a stopover in Poland, at the time of the US HAWC test. Washington has also avoided taking actions or making statements that could unduly exacerbate tensions between the two countries.

To avoid Russian misinterpretation for the time being, the US delayed a test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) called Minuteman III last weekend.

The Pentagon is equally tight-lipped about the weapons and equipment it gives to Ukraine, revealing only anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and other conventional infantry weapons.

The US also opposes the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine, believing that the Russian government will interpret it as an act of US and NATO involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

Raytheon successfully tested its version of HAWC in September, prior to the mid-March test. Northrop Grumman created the propulsion used by Raytheon rockets.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, two major US defence companies, are competing for the contract to develop and sell HAWC missiles to the US military.

The HAWC tests met all of the key objectives, according to a press release from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA), including missile integration and launch, aircraft safety after launch, and missile range and stability throughout flight.

Following successful tests by Russia and China in recent months, the Pentagon has moved its focus to hypersonic weapons research, raising concerns in Washington that the US is lagging behind on a technologically advanced technology. Military technology is seen as crucial in the future.

The Biden administration sought $7.2 billion in the 2023 defence budget for the development of long-range strike missile variants, including hypersonic missiles. The Pentagon has spent and will spend at least $15 billion on hypersonic weapons programmes between 2015 and 2024.

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