US successfully tests hypersonic booster engine in Utah

The US Navy, in collaboration with the US Army, conducts a static firing test of the first stage of the new common 34.5-inch hypersonic missile to be deployed by the two services, at Promontory, Box Elder County , in this document image taken Thursday. (REUTERS)

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WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Thursday successfully tested a booster rocket motor in Utah designed to propel a launcher carrying a hypersonic weapon into the air, the Navy said.

The United States and its global rivals have stepped up efforts to build hypersonic weapons – the next generation of weapons that rob adversaries of reaction time and traditional defeat mechanisms. Defense contractors hope to capitalize as they manufacture weapons and develop new detection and defeat mechanisms.

This week, the top US military officer confirmed a test of Chinese hypersonic weapons that military experts say appears to show Beijing’s pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade missile defenses American.

“We are on schedule for the next full joint hypersonic missile flight test,” said Vice Admiral Johnny Wolfe Jr., Director of Strategic Systems Programs for the Navy and lead designer for the program. This flight test, of the combined rocket and hypersonic weapon, is expected to take place before the fall of 2022.

The US Navy, in collaboration with the US Army, conducts a static firing test of the first stage of the new common 34.5-inch hypersonic missile to be deployed by the two services, at Promontory, Box Elder County , in this document image taken Thursday.
The US Navy, in collaboration with the US Army, conducts a static firing test of the first stage of the new common 34.5-inch hypersonic missile to be deployed by the two services, at Promontory, Box Elder County , in this image taken Thursday. (Photo: REUTERS)

Last week in Kodiak, Alaska, the United States failed a hypersonic weapon test when the booster failed.

The US military services will use the common hypersonic missile as a basis for developing individual weapon systems and launchers suitable for launch from sea or land.

The common hypersonic missile will include the solid first stage rocket motor as part of a new missile thruster combined with the common hypersonic glide body.

This static fire test at Promontory marked the first time that the first stage solid rocket motor included a thrust vector control system, the Navy said. Thrust vector control systems allow rocket engines to be maneuverable in flight.

The US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs conducted two pre-tests of the solid rocket motor used in the development of the Navy’s conventional Prompt Strike offensive hypersonic strike capability and the Army’s long-range hypersonic weapon .

Gunmakers Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies all touted their hypersonic weapons programs at the top of their quarterly profit calls this week as global attention turned to the new arms race for a emerging class of weapons.

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