The U.S.'s Hypersonic Missile: How It Works
The U.S. Air Force is set to test a new hypersonic missile, known as the AGM-183A
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA — The U.S. Air Force is set to test a new hypersonic missile, known as the AGM-183A, according to a statement released by the The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
Launched from Edwards Air Force Base in California and loaded onto a B-52H bomber, manufacturer Lockheed Martin describes it as a "hypersonic" missile, which means it can travel at speeds at least five times faster than the speed of sound.
According to the U.S. Air Force, once released from the B-52H, the missile operates in two stages. First, a rocket booster accelerates within the Earth's atmosphere until it reaches speeds above five times faster than the speed of sound. Second, it releases an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon glide vehicle which — as the name suggests — glides towards its target.
According to Air Force Magazine, by flying lower than ballistic missiles, and with a flatter, less predictable trajectory, missiles like the AGM-183A may be more able to evade missile defense systems.
That flatter trajectory may also enable targets to be reached faster, because the distance between release point and destination is shorter.
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