US army tests 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 18, 2011 12:07
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" which 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. local time to the Reagan Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll.

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The vehicle glided at least 4,000 kilometers to the Pacific atoll, with the goal of testing "navigation, guidance, and control" according to Pentagon spokesperson 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 (CPGS) program, which the US said it would use to "precisely strike time-sensitive, high value targets," according to the US State Department.

The US Defense Afvanced Research Projects Agenct (DARPA) has conducted research on a similar hypersonic weapon, the HTV-2.

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