The US Army has successfully deployed its first long-range hypersonic weapon (LRHW) system to practise a full range of expeditionary hypersonic launch capabilities.
The weapon system was deployed by the 1st Multi-Domain Task Force (1st MDTF) long-range fires battalion, 5th Battalion and 3rd Field Artillery Regiment (5-3 LRFB).
It was fielded more than 3,100 miles away from the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington to Cape Canaveral in Florida, as part of the exercise Thunderbolt Strike last month.
The exercise allowed soldiers to undertake a series of drills to practise with the LRHW system.
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The military forces carried out critical command-and-control linkages between the US Strategic Command, Indo-Pacific Command, Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) and Army Pacific.
1st MDTF commander brigadier general Bernard Harrington said: “Our soldiers processed real missions, with real data, in real time, to produce real effects to learn lessons and generate readiness.”
The exercise’s latest iteration further allowed participating units, including 1st MDTF and RCCTO, industry partners and army divisions to receive quick feedback from the associated stakeholders on a different complex system.
The US Army is working in close cooperation with the US Navy on the development of a hypersonic weapon system.
The LRHW system includes the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) and the Navy 34.5in booster.
A 12 January 2023 report by the Congressional Research Service said the service has planned to field a prototype LRHW battery in fiscal year (FY) 2023.
Following the deployment, the US Army will move to a formal Program of Record and field second and third batteries in FY2025 and FY2027.
In addition, technology insertions to upgrade the C-HGB are to take place in FY2026 and FY2027.