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Hypersonic-Missile Delay Puts U.S. Further Behind Russia and China

  • Pentagon hoped to declare Lockheed missile ready by Sept. 30
  • Lawmakers criticized defense secretary for slow progress
An AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) under the wing of a B-52H before a test flight at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on Aug. 6, 2020.
An AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) under the wing of a B-52H before a test flight at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on Aug. 6, 2020.Photographer: Giancarlo Casem/U.S. Air Force

The first U.S. hypersonic weapon will be delayed for as long as a year under a new schedule, even as lawmakers protest that the Pentagon is lagging behind in a new technology that Russia has already used in Ukraine and China has demonstrated in a space launch.

The goal to declare an “early operational capability” for the Lockheed Martin Corp. missile by Sept. 30 has been moved back to sometime in the next fiscal year, according to an Air Force statement. The Pentagon has said the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, is expected to be the “nation’s first operational hypsersonic weapon.”