First flight test of Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept


November 20, 2011

The U.S. Army has completed a successful first flight test of its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept, which like the HTV-2 pictured above, is part of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program

The U.S. Army has completed a successful first flight test of its Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept, which like the HTV-2 pictured above, is part of the Conventional Prompt Global Strike program

Following the two test flights of the unmanned Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2) earlier this year, both of which ended prematurely with the vehicle making a "controlled descent" into the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command last week conducted the first test flight of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept.

Both the HTV-2 and AHW are part of the U.S. military's Conventional Prompt Global Strike (CPGS) program, which aims to develop a system to deliver a precision conventional weapon strike anywhere in the world within one hour, just as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can do with a nuclear warhead.

The first-of-its-kind AHW concept, which is designed to fly at hypersonic speeds (generally referred to as speeds of Mach 5 and above) and long range, was launched at 6:30 a.m. U.S. EST on November 17 from the Pacific Missile Range Facility located in Kauai, Hawaii using a three-stage booster system.

After successful deployment on the desired flight trajectory by the booster system, the AHW glide vehicle flew a non-ballistic glide trajectory at hypersonic speed to the planned impact location at the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands over 3,500 km (2,175 miles) away in under half an hour.

Results from the boost-glide tests of the HTV-2 conducted by DARPA were used in the planning of the AHW flight test. The Department of Defense says the data collected by space, air, sea and ground platforms during all phases of the AHW test flight will now be used by to model and develop future hypersonic boost-glide capabilities.

Source: DoD

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

I think it would be more cost effective to build a bunch of conventionally armed ICBMs and base them separately from the nuclear ICBMs without the doomsday bunker silos. We would also have to let certain hostile powers enough access to confirm that they are in fact a conventional weapon delivery system.


7000 km/h :O

Patrik Mihályfi

I live in New Zealand, Like Iceland, No superpower even knows where we are... Safe at last.

Paul Perkins

Great! we\'ll be able to kill innocents and the guilty alike at a much fater pace.


For a country such as the U.S. that is in financial trouble, wouldn\'t putting some of these costly programs on hold be beneficial.The money could be diverted to programs that will do some good. Being Canadian we can\'t afford to spend money on stuff like this.


ahhh, the war machine, gotta love the military industrial complex Eisenhower warned us of in the nineteenfoockingfifties that we are BURP BELCH PHRAFFT, feeding gotta keep the wars going, oh wait, nicer word,, conflict machine fed, guess I will watch Dr. Strangelove AGAIN, or perhaps become outraged and join the unclean of OWS, Nelson the word is faster

Bill Bennett

There is evidence that the increasing ability of nations to wreak mass destruction on one another from a distance, is the strongest driving force there is for global cooperation and world peace.

As the gun, enabling untrained people to kill from a distance may have driven democracy.

And the spear, enabling the weak to kill the strong, may have driven tribal egalitarianism.

Ironic, no?

Goran Pocina

Looks like the kind of thing that would be used to take out a high value, target. Something like a very long range anti-missle missle that just crashes into it's target, shortly before or after it's launched . It's something that would make North Korea like saber rattling a very dangerous activity.

Dave B13
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