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Video: Pentagon launches successful test of new hypersonic weapon

A common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB) launches from Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai, Hawaii, at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time, March 19, 2020, during a Department of Defense flight experiment. (Oscar Sosa/U.S. Navy)
March 21, 2020

The Department of Defense successfully tested its new hypersonic glide body in a joint effort between the U.S. Navy and Army, the department announced in a statement on Thursday.

At the time of the test, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) monitored and gathered data from the flight that will inform and impact the further development of the common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB), which flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point, according to the statement. The role the C-HGB could play is defense against adversary hypersonic weapons.

The U.S. Navy released a short video displaying the launch of the C-HGB. Watch it below:

”This test builds on the success we had with Flight Experiment 1 in October 2017, in which our C-HGB achieved sustained hypersonic glide at our target distances,” said Vice Adm. Johnny R. Wolfe, Director, Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, which is the lead designer for the C-HGB.

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”In this test we put additional stresses on the system and it was able to handle them all, due to the phenomenal expertise of our top notch team of individuals from across government, industry and academia. Today we validated our design and are now ready to move to the next phase towards fielding a hypersonic strike capability,” Wolfe added.

With the capability to fly at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), hypersonic weapons are also highly maneuverable and can operate at different altitudes, the statement added. This gives warfighters the ability to strike hundreds and even thousands of miles away in a matter of minutes.

Developing hypersonic weapons is one of the Defense Department’s highest priorities.

”This test was a critical step in rapidly delivering operational hypersonic capabilities to our warfighters in support of the National Defense Strategy,” said U.S. Army LTG L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition, whose office is leading the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon program and joint C-HGB production.

“We successfully executed a mission consistent with how we can apply this capability in the future. The joint team did a tremendous job in executing this test, and we will continue to move aggressively to get prototypes to the field,” Thurgood added.

When the C-HBG is fully ready, it will comprise a conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield, according to the Defense Department. The Navy and Army will be developing individual weapons systems tailored to be launched from land or for sea.

“Hypersonic systems deliver transformational warfighting capability,” said Mr. Mike White, Assistant Director, Hypersonics, OUSD Research and Engineering (Modernization). “The glide body tested today is now ready for transition to Army and Navy weapon system development efforts and is one of several applications of hypersonic technology underway across the Department.  These capabilities help ensure that our warfighters will maintain the battlefield dominance necessary to deter, and if necessary, defeat any future adversary.”