US army test flies advanced hypersonic weapon

AHW can strike any target in world in less than 1 hour, AFP reports; vehicle launched from Hawaii 4,000km to Pacific atoll.

November 20, 2011 03:23
1 minute read.

Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW)_311. (photo credit: Wiki Commons)

The Pentagon on Thursday successfully conducted the first test flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), a “glide vehicle” that will allow the US to strike a target anywhere in the world within an hour, according to AFP.

The US Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command launched the vehicle from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, at 1:30 a.m. to the Reagan Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll.

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The vehicle glided at least 4,000 km. to the atoll, with the goal of testing “navigation, guidance, and control” according to Pentagon spokeswoman Lt.-Col. Melinda F. Morgan. It was powered by a three-stage hypersonic booster system. Scientists classify hypersonic speeds as those at Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) or above.

The Pentagon developed AHW as part of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program, which the US said it would use to “precisely strike time-sensitive, high-value targets,” according to the State Department. The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has conducted research on a similar hypersonic weapon, the HTV-2.

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