The Pentagon successfully tested hypersonic weapons components
The U.S. Navy and Army on Wednesday launched a rocket from a naval launch pad in Virginia to conduct nearly a dozen hypersonic weapons experiments to develop a new class of weapons, the Pentagon said, calling the test a success.
According to the Navy statement, Sandia National Laboratory experts conducted tests at NASA’s Wallops Flight Base in Virginia that evaluated communication and navigation equipment for hypersonic weapons, as well as advanced materials capable of withstanding heat in a “real hypersonic environment.”
Hypersonic gliders launch from a missile in the upper atmosphere and then head toward a target at more than five times the speed of sound – about 6,200 kilometers per hour.
The United States and rival nations have recently accelerated the pace of development of hypersonic weapons, next-generation weapons that rob adversaries of time to react and use traditional killing mechanisms.
To accelerate development, the Pentagon conducted tests with prototypes using a meteorological missile – smaller and therefore more accessible for research – to fill the critical gap between ground tests and flight tests of the entire system.
Wednesday’s tests were designed to test future aspects of the Navy’s non-nuclear global strike capability and the Army’s long-range hypersonic weapons.
Companies such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies are working on U.S. hypersonic weapons.