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AGM-183A ARRW on a B-52, June 2019 (190612-F-HP195-0014) (cropped).jpg
A prototype AGM-183A is pictured carried by a U.S. Air Force B-52 in a June 2019 test.
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by United States Air Force (planned)
Production history
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin

1000 mi (1600 km)[1]
Speed Mach 20+

The AGM-183 ARRW ("Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon") is a hypersonic weapon planned for use by the United States Air Force. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the boost glide weapon is propelled to a maximum speed of more than Mach 20 by a missile before gliding towards its target.[3]


Development and acquisition

In August 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded a $480 million contract to Lockheed Martin for the development of an air-launched hypersonic weapon.[4] The resulting missile, the AGM-183A ARRW ("Arrow"), underwent an initial captive carry flight test aboard a U.S. Air Force B-52 in June 2019.[4]

In February 2020, the Trump Administration proposed a 23 percent increase in funding for hypersonic weapons and, the same month, the U.S. Air Force announced it had decided to move forward with acquisition of the AGM-183A.[5][6]

In March 2020, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael D. Griffin stated that the United States was "close at hand" to having a hypersonic boost-glide weapon ready to field.[7]

Theorized relation to the "Super-Duper Missile"

A "Super-Duper Missile" was announced by US President Donald Trump during a press availability in the Oval Office on May 15, 2020.[8][9] According to Trump, the Super-Duper Missile is 17 times faster than existing missiles in the United States arsenal; however, Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association believes the claim may have been a misstatement.[10][11][12] PBS news correspondent Nick Schifrin has theorized that the "Super-Duper Missile" is the AGM-183A, as has the China Times.[13][14]

Design and performance

According to Popular Mechanics, the U.S. Air Force is considering using the remaining fleet of B-1Bs as AGM-183 firing platforms.

The AGM-183A has a claimed maximum speed of 15,345 miles per hour (24,695 km/h; Mach 20).[15]

The weapon uses a boost-glide system, in which it is propelled to hypersonic speed by a rocket on which it is mounted before gliding towards a target.[5] According to Popular Mechanics, the U.S. Air Force was, as of April 2020, considering using the remaining fleet of B-1B bombers as AGM-183A firing platforms, with each aircraft carrying up to 31 of the weapons mounted internally and on external pylons.[15]


A booster flight test of ARRW took place in April 2021 at Point Mugu Sea Range, off the coast of Southern California but did not launch successfully;[16] this was the eighth test for ARRW.[17]

Another test in May 2021 for the ARRW's avionics, sensors and communications systems, was successful. The test did not use any of the ARRW’s systems but instead used a B-52 based system. On a flight to Alaska from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the B-52 was able to receive target data from over 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) away.[18]

In July 2021, a second flight test at Point Mugu Sea Range, again being dropped from a B-52 bomber, was a failure as the rocket motor failed to ignite.[19][20] On 15 December 2021, the third flight test failed to launch as well.[21] On 9 March 2022, Congress halved funding for ARRW and transferred the balance to ARRW's R&D account to allow for further testing, which puts the procurement contract at risk.[22]

See also


  2. Tirpak, John A. (March 2, 2020). "Roper: The ARRW Hypersonic Missile Better Option for USAF". Air Force Magazine. "The reason we went with ARRW was not that HCSW was bad, but ARRW is smaller; we can carry twice as many on the B-52, and it’s possible it could be on the F-15" 
  3. Rogoway, Tyler. "Check Out This B-52 Stratofortress Carrying Two AGM-183 Hypersonic Test Missiles". 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pawlyk, Oriana (June 18, 2019). "In First, Air Force Flies Hypersonic Missile Prototype on B-52 Bomber". 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tirpak, John (March 2, 2020). "Roper: The ARRW Hypersonic Missile Better Option for USAF". Air Force Magazine. 
  6. Sanger, David E. (February 10, 2020). "Trump Budget Calls for New Nuclear Warheads and 2 Types of Missiles". New York Times. 
  7. Harper, Jon (March 4, 2020). "Just In: Pentagon to Spend Billions Mass-Producing Hypersonic Weapons". National Defense Magazine. 
  8. Pickrell, Ryan (May 15, 2020). "Trump says the US is building a 'super-duper missile' that is much faster than anything it has now". Business Insider. 
  9. Johnson, Marty (May 16, 2020). "Trump touts new 'super-duper' missile that can allegedly travel 17 times faster than current missiles". The Hill. 
  10. Choi, David (May 19, 2020). "Trump's boasts about 'super-duper' missiles reflect misunderstanding of what those weapons actually do". Business Insider. 
  11. Browne, Ryan (May 16, 2020). "Trump touts new 'super duper' missile but Pentagon won't confirm details". CNN. 
  12. "Trump says US developing a 'super duper missile'". Times of Israel. May 16, 2020. 
  13. Schifrin, Nick. "For those interested, the aforementioned super duper missile AGM-183 Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon hypersonic". @nickschifrin. Twitter. 
  14. "川普:美國將有「超級飛彈」速度超乎想像" (in zh). China Times. May 18, 2020. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Mizokami, Kyle (April 9, 2020). "The B-1 Bomber Might Start Slinging Hypersonic Missiles". Popular Mechanics. 
  16. Bill Gertz (3 Mar 2021) Air Force to test hypersonic missile
  17. Theresa Hitchens (3 Jun 2021) B-21 Speeds To IOC; ARRW Test Slated For Next Month: Ray
  18. Jack Dutton (13 May 2021) Air Force Bomber Completes Hypersonic Missile Test
  19. Stefano D'Urso (28 July 2021) First Flight Test Of Hypersonic AGM-183A ARRW (Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon) Fails, Again.
  20. Valerie Insinna (4 Aug 2021) After latest flight test failure, US Air Force hopes to keep first hypersonic missile on track for production
  21. Valerie Insinna (20 Dec 2021) Air Force hypersonic weapon runs into trouble after a third failed test
  22. Valerie Insinna (9 Mar 2022) Air Force can’t buy its first hypersonic ARRW as planned, following budget cut

External links

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