Failed: The US hypersonic missile did not ignite the engine

WASHINGTON, BM – The United States failed for the second time in its attempt to test its first and only hypersonic missile, the AGM-183A, designed to be launched from a bomber. On July 28, the missile was successfully attached to the B-52H bomber, but when an attempt was made to launch it, the engine that powered the AGM-183A did not start at all.

In April, the US Air Force made the first attempt at a real test of its hypersonic missile, but then the problem was different – it was not successfully attached to the bomber. Even then, the Pentagon announced that the main goal of the US Air Force was the first successful test to be performed by the end of July this year, but as it can be seen, it was again unsuccessful.

The official press release of the US Air Force says that in the test on July 29 the missile successfully separated from the bomber, showed full release, working navigation systems, good control, and mobility of the blades, but when it came time to turn on the engine and to direct the missile at the target, this did not happen.

So far, the AGM-183A has had several successful tests, but “dry tests” i.e. simulations. The same types of tests were recently conducted in the United States on the latest warhead W88 Alt 370, which is expected to become an integral part not only of the AGM-183A but also of other types of the cruise or anti-ship missiles.

Elon Musk will make heat shields for US hypersonic missiles

The US Air Force is looking for new ways to fabricate heat shields (missiles) that could work in demanding hypersonic applications. For this purpose, a new industrial contract was concluded to research and select appropriate material technologies and production methods. Elon Musk’s company – SpaceX, was his beneficiary.

The US Air Force commissioned SpaceX to develop a concept for producing heat shields for future US missiles operating at very high air velocities. The agreement is the result of a tender procedure carried out on the initiative of the Pentagon, in which – according to general assurances – “many bidders” took part. The public tender was titled “Multipurpose thermal protection systems for hypersonics.”

The contract for USD 8.5 million was concluded between the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and SpaceX in December 2020. However, the information was not made public until the end of February this year. “The aim is to improve the technology of manufacturing thermal protection systems to enable low-cost mass production of such next-generation devices,” says the award announcement.


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