The Navy deemed the Aug. 25 test in Promontory, Utah, a success, which included firing the first-stage rocket motor. The event also put the thrust vector control system on the missile booster to the test.
The event is another step toward the fielding of a Navy and Army co-designed common hypersonic missile. The Navy and Army will each take the missile’s glide body and tailor it for sea-launched and ground-launched use.
The Army plans to field its ground-launched Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon by the end of fiscal 2023, and the Navy wants its ship-launched capability fielded in 2023 followed by a submarine-launched missile in 2024. The Air Force wants to field an air-launched version in 2022.
While the Navy is leading the design effort for the Common-Hypersonic Glide Body, the Army is leading the production effort.
The Navy previously tested the first-stage motor on May 27, with its industry partners Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Moog.
The Pentagon had a successful test of the Common-Hypersonic Glide Body on March 20, 2020. While a second test is expected this year, it has been delayed from its original date in the third quarter of fiscal 2021 to the first quarter of fiscal 2022.
The weapon will be capable of flying five times the speed of sound — Mach 5 — and can maneuver at a variety of altitudes, making it difficult to detect with terrestrial-based radars.
“In a matter of minutes, Navy and Army warfighters can defeat high-value targets hundreds or even thousands of miles away,” the Navy statement noted. “Delivering hypersonic weapons is one of the [Defense Department’s] highest priorities.”
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.