US Air Force says it conducted successful hypersonic weapon test

A B-52 bomber released an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), the Air Force said in a statement.

Master Sgt. John Malloy and Staff Sgt. Jacob Puente, both from 912th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, secure the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 (ARRW IMV-2) as it is loaded under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, California. (photo credit: US AIR FORCE/GIANCARLO CASEM/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Master Sgt. John Malloy and Staff Sgt. Jacob Puente, both from 912th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, secure the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon Instrumented Measurement Vehicle 2 (ARRW IMV-2) as it is loaded under the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
(photo credit: US AIR FORCE/GIANCARLO CASEM/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The US Air Force said on Monday it had conducted a successful test of a hypersonic weapon, which flew at five times the speed of sound.

The test was conducted on Saturday off the coast of Southern California when a B-52 bomber released an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), the Air Force said in a statement.

"Following separation from the aircraft, the ARRW's booster ignited and burned for [the] expected duration, achieving hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound," it said.

A missile is launched during what state media report is a hypersonic missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea, January 11, 2022, in this photo released January 12, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO)A missile is launched during what state media report is a hypersonic missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea, January 11, 2022, in this photo released January 12, 2022 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). (credit: KCNA VIA REUTERS/FILE PHOTO)

The United States is not alone in developing hypersonic weapons, whose speed and maneuverability make them difficult to track and intercept.

Russia has fired hypersonic missiles at targets in Ukraine and China has tested hypersonic weapons, US military officials have said. China's foreign ministry denied in October that it had conducted a weapons test.