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Wed Jun 5, 2019, 02:17 PM

Here's What The Army's First Ever Operational Hypersonic Missile Unit Will Look Like [View all]


The U.S. Army has laid out its plans for establishing its first ever unit armed with hypersonic boost-glide vehicles, as well as the transporter erector launchers, or TELs, that will carry the weapons. The service describes this unique artillery battery as primarily as an experimental organization that will help with the development of new concepts of operation around the employment of hypersonic weapons, but insists that it will also have a "residual" operational capability.

U.S. Army Lieutenant General Neil Thurgood, head of the service's recently rebranded Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), announced the details of the new unit, which does not yet have a designation, at the Association of the U.S. Army's LANPAC conference in Hawaii in May 2019. Formerly known as the Army Rapid Capabilities Office, RCCTO is overseeing the service's contributions to the development of a common hypersonic boost-glide vehicle that will also eventually enter service as a submarine- and air-launched weapon with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, respectively.


The Army's requirements for the AHW were a sustained speed of at least Mach 8 and the ability to travel approximately 3,700 miles in 35 minutes. If the new design has similar capabilities, it would give the battery an unprecedented ability to launch short- or no-notice strikes against time-sensitive and other critical targets. What makes hypersonic weapons, including unpowered boost-glide vehicles, especially threatening is their ability to maneuver inside the atmosphere and fly more unpredictable routes to their targets, compared to existing longer-range weapons, such as ballistic missiles.


In 2022, the service wants the battery to conduct the first test launch of a hypersonic weapon from the TEL. Additional ground-based test firings will then occur every six months until the battery reaches its initial operational capability in 2023.


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Reply Here's What The Army's First Ever Operational Hypersonic Missile Unit Will Look Like [View all]
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