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The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy tested a hypersonic weapon system from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, last week, and everything went as planned.
The common hypersonic glide body, or C-HGB, lifted off as planned and struck its designated target.
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Hypersonic weapons are capable of flying at speeds five times the speed of sound, Mach 5, and even up to Mach 20. They are highly maneuverable and can operate at different altitudes.
They represent a different type of weapon compared with ballistic missiles and their warheads, which can travel at speeds up to Mach 24. The main point of difference is that hypersonic weapons remain in the atmosphere while they travel, whereas ballistic missile warheads spend a lot of their flight in lower Earth orbit.
Moreover, hypersonic weapons offer the ability to strike targets hundreds and thousands of miles away in just a few minutes after launching off. Their development has been a top priority for the Department of Defense.
"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.
He continued "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."
C-HGB will be the basis of hypersonic weapon systems used by both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. As per Mike White, Assistant Director of Hypersonics, OUSD Research and Engineering, "These capabilities help ensure that our warfighters will maintain the battlefield dominance necessary to deter, and if necessary, defeat any future adversary."