The U.S. Army has conducted the first flight test of a new weapon concept designed to fly within the earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speed and long range, the Pentagon said.
The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command launched the Advance Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), “a first-of-its-kind glide vehicle,” at 17:30 GMT Thursday from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Hawaii. It hit its designated target at the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll, about 2,300 miles away.
The Army launched the AHW from the military’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai at about 1:30 a.m. local time.
The objective of the test is to collect data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test range performance for long-range atmospheric flight.
“The mission emphasis is aerodynamics; navigation, guidance, control and thermal protection technologies,” the Department of Defense said.
The AHW program is managed and executed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Army Forces Strategic Command program office in Huntsville, Ala.
The DoD said it is using AHW to develop and demonstrate technologies for Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS).
“As part of the CPGS effort, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency conducted boost-glide flight tests in April 2010 and August 2011, results from which were used in planning the AHW flight test,” the DoD said.