WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The U.S. successfully tested two Lockheed Martin hypersonic missiles recently, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.
- A hypersonic weapon test carried out in Hawaii last month failed after an “anomaly” occurred.
- The tests come over concerns China and Russia have been more successful in developing their own hypersonic weapons.
The United States successfully tested two hypersonic missiles off the coast of California on Tuesday.
The U.S. Air Force confirmed the successful test of the Lockheed Martin-designed missiles dubbed as Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) booster. The plane-mounted missile had previously failed to detach in past tests, particularly the one carried out in Hawaii last month.
Hypersonic weapons fly in the upper atmosphere and reach incredible speeds of up to Mach 5, or more than 3,800 miles per hour.
The U.S., like superpowers Russia and China, has multiple projects researching hypersonic weapons. The test launch on Tuesday is at least the third time the nation has successfully used one of the missiles since September.
In April, the U.S. publicly tested another Lockheed Martin-produced hypersonic missile called the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). It was fired from the ground rather than from an aircraft.
The missile reportedly reached speeds above Mach 5 at an altitude above 65,000 feet and successfully sustained its speed for at least 300 miles.
The U.S. has staunch competition in developing these types of weapons as Russia and China are also conducting similar tests. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed in March that it has used its newest Kinzhal hypersonic missiles during its invasion of Ukraine. The Kinzhal hypersonic missile is nuclear-capable.
Last year, China also successfully tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile which comes as a shock to U.S. watchdogs. China made the missile launch in August. It reportedly circled the globe before hitting its target, just missing about 24 miles.