The US Department of Defense (DoD) has completed the test launch of a common hypersonic glide body (C-HGB), which flew at hypersonic speed to a designated impact point.

The launch was jointly performed by the US Army and the US Navy from the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii.

From the test launch, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) concurrently monitored and gathered tracking data, which will be used for its ongoing development of systems that are designed to defend against adversary hypersonic weapons.

Information collected from the latest and future experiments will further inform the DoD’s hypersonic technology development.

The DoD noted that the launch serves as a major milestone towards its goal of fielding hypersonic combat capabilities in the early to mid-2020s.

US Army Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition director Neil Thurgood said: “This test was a critical step in rapidly delivering operational hypersonic capabilities to our warfighters in support of the National Defense Strategy.

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“We successfully executed a mission consistent with how we can apply this capability in the future. The joint team did a tremendous job in executing this test, and we will continue to move aggressively to get prototypes to the field.”

Hypersonic glide body weapons, which are manoeuvrable and operate at varying altitudes, can fly at greater speeds and provide an ability for troops to strike long-range targets.

When fully fielded, the C-HGB will consist of the weapon’s conventional warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shield.

The army and navy are working with the industry to develop the glide body. The navy will serve as the lead designer and the army as the lead for production.

The C-HGB will be used by each service while developing individual weapon systems and launchers tailored for launch from sea or land.

Additionally, MDA is working with the army and navy in sharing data that will inform their development of improved capabilities for a layered hypersonic defence to support the needs of troops.