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not so dravidian

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US tested hypersonic missile in mid-March but kept it quiet to avoid escalating tensions with Russia


The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) was launched from a B-52 bomber off the west coast, the official said, in the first successful test of the Lockheed Martin version of the system. A booster engine accelerated the missile to high speed, at which point the air-breathing scramjet engine ignited and propelled the missile at hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 and above.

The official offered scant details of the missile test, only noting the missile flew above 65,000 feet and for more than 300 miles. But even at the lower end of hypersonic range -- about 3,800 miles per hour -- a flight of 300 miles is less than 5 minutes.


The US test is the second successful test of a HAWC missile, and it is the first of the Lockheed Martin version of the weapon. Last September, the Air Force tested the Raytheon HAWC, powered by a Northrop Grumman scramjet engine.

The test met all primary objectives, according to a press release from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), including the missile's integration and release, safe separation from the launch aircraft, booster firing, and cruise. Then too officials offered few details about the flight, with no mention of how fast the missile flew or what distance it traveled. The release only stated that the missile traveled at speeds greater than Mach 5.
 

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