U.S. Army and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command yesterday managed to successfully test their brand new Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept, launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii to the Reagan Test Site, U.S. Army Kwajalein Atoll, which apparently is 2,400 miles apart. It is the first of its genre glide vehicle, designed specifically to circle around earth’s atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. This lends this super speedy weapon the capability to strike any target on Earth in less than two hours’ time. At top speed the three-stage booster rocket powered weapon reached a mind-boggling speed crossing the Mach 5 barrier, which is simply remarkable.
The test was primarily aimed at collecting data regarding the hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test range performance for long-range atmospheric flight. The main focus of this mission was to test the aerodynamics, navigation capabilities, guidance mechanism, control and thermal protection technologies.
According to Pentagon’s announcement of the flight:-
The AHW program is managed and executed by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command program office in Huntsville, Ala. The booster system and glide vehicle were developed by Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M. and the thermal protection system by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, Huntsville, Ala.
The Department of Defense 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.