Congress to Cut Funding for US Air Force Hypersonic Missiles
Congress appropriators have canceled the U.S. Air Force’s plans to acquire hypersonic missiles in 2022. According to lawmakers, ongoing delays with the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon could prevent a production award from being granted within the year.
Half of the funds meant for procurement of ARRW would be removed from the omnibus bill altogether while the other half would be transferred to hypersonics research, development, test and evaluation to ensure that the concept would further mature, Defense News reported.
The Air Force now has $319 million for hypersonics research, development, test and evaluation funds, and an additional $190 million will be allocated for the Air Force’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile. Appropriators said the shift was made in consultation with the military branch.
All the ARRW tests in 2021 failed due to problems during the launch process. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said during the McAleesee Defense Programs Conference that Lockheed Martin, the contractor for the ARRW program, is working on a fix and will be ready for another test.
Kendall also said the Department of Defense must be clear about how it wants to use hypersonics and notify USAF if it has suggestions for achieving its desired goals for the weapons.
Hypersonic missiles can travel at five times the speed of sound, allowing them to hit enemy targets with minimal threats of being tracked and shot down by enemy defenses. Both the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army were able to demonstrate their advanced hypersonic missile concepts in October 2021.
Category: Defense and Intelligence
Tags: AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon budget Congress Defense and Intelligence Defense News Frank Kendall hypersonic missiles US Air Force