AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon
Weapons and Kit

Will This US Military Weapon Change Warfare?

The AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon travels at Mach 5 - around 3,800 mph.

AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon

The hypersonic missiles test flight in California (Picture: Edwards Air Force Base).

The US military has given the first flight test to a hypersonic missile capable of speeds of Mach 5.

The AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon can travel at speeds of around 3,800 mph, which is almost five times the speed of sound.

For the flight the missile did not contain explosives and was not released from the aircraft.

The test at Edwards Air Force Base in California allowed the US Air Force to monitor drag and vibration effects on it. 

AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon
The missile's vibration and drag was recorded during a test (Picture: Edwards Air Force Base).

The test came place before plans for a new missile that can travel above Mach 6, equivalent to 4,600 mph, were released.

Plans for the new weapon were announced at the Paris Air Show.

American missile manufacturer Raytheon and US aerospace company Northrop Grumman revealed that the "scramjet" engine will be made entirely of 3D-printed parts, which is a key component to driving down costs.

Raytheon have explained how a scramjet engine works: "High vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion to enable sustained flight at hypersonic speeds.

"Such speeds reduce flight times and increase weapon survivability, effectiveness and flexibility."

It has been proposed that this new missile will be able to be launched from the air and ground.

The US Department of Defense plans for hypersonic missiles to come into service within the next 18 months.