Falling behind in the hypersonic race, the United States faced setbacks yet again after the “failed trial” of its cutting-edge weapon earlier this month.

The race to produce the most sophisticated hypersonic technology rose to prominence in the last decade. With Russia leading the competition and China closely following behind, the US has been striving to catch up, activating its hypersonic weapons programs across its defense sector. Among which is the US Air Force’s Air-launched Rapid Response Weapons (ARRW) program.

However, the program has been revealed to be “in jeopardy” after its latest failed test.

During this week’s defense hearing, US Air Force secretary Frank Kendall disclosed that the second round of testing of the ARRW on March 13 was unsuccessful.

Likewise, Kendall noted that the ARRW effort “struggled a little bit” throughout its testing phase and that the service may reconsider whether to continue including the initiative in the fiscal year 2025 budget.

Kendall also stated that the service might shift its focus to another hypersonic program, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), if the testing process of the ARRW continues to stumble.

What Went Wrong?

According to its press release, the US Air Force conducted the second All-Up-Round AGM-183A ARRW test flight on March 13 off the southern California coast via B-52H Stratofortress.

The second test evaluated the full prototype operational hypersonic missile, focusing on the ARRW’s end-to-end performance. While the test accomplished several objectives, Kendall said the data collected failed to provide the team engineers and testers with what they needed.