U.S. Hypersonic Missile Hits Within Six Inches of Target in March Test

U.S. hypersonic missiles are capable of striking within six inches of a target after flying faster than Mach 5 for thousands of miles, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said.

“Hypersonic missiles are hitting their targets with a variance of only a mere 6 inches,” the Army Secretary said during his speech at the virtual opening ceremony of Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) conference on Tuesday.

Defense News reported citing an Army spokesperson that McCarthy was referring to the successful test of the Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii on March 19. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Army jointly executed the launch of the C-HGB, which flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point.

Hypersonic weapons, capable of flying at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), are highly maneuverable and operate at varying altitudes. This provides the warfighter with an ability to strike targets hundreds and even thousands of miles away, in a matter of minutes, to defeat a wide range of high-value targets.

The C-HGB – when fully fielded – will comprise the weapon’s conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield. The Navy and Army are working closely with industry to develop the C-HGB with Navy as the lead designer, and Army as the lead for production.

Each service will use the C-HGB, while developing individual weapon systems and launchers tailored for launch from sea or land. The similarities in hypersonic weapon design for sea and land variants provide economies of scale for future production as the U.S. builds its hypersonics industrial base.

Last week, Russia  announced the successful test-launch of its 3M22 Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the Project 22350 frigate Admiral Gorshkov. The Anti-ship cruise missile (ASCM) was launched from the frigate while underway in the White Sea against a sea target located in the Barents Sea.

According to Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement, the missile destroyed the target at a distance of 450 km with a direct hit. The statement added that the missile was flying with a speed of over Mach 8 during the test.

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