In a recent briefing at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual conference in Washington, DC, officials of the US Army have reiterated their determination to deploy cutting-edge, long-range hypersonic weapons by the end of this year.

Optimism in the Face of Delays

Despite grappling with delays, unexpected challenges, and testing failures, the Army remains confident in the timeline for their Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) project, also known as Dark Eagle.

James Mills, the deputy director of the Army Hypersonics Project Office in the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO), expressed unwavering confidence during the conference.

“We are confident in the calendar year,” Mills remarked at the event early this week, cited by Janes.

While acknowledging the hurdles ahead, he highlighted the substantial progress achieved thus far.

One significant milestone was the successful deployment of a field artillery battery at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in 2021, complete with essential ground equipment such as Transporter Erector Launchers (TELs) and operational centers.

Prototype hypersonic hardware
The delivery of the first prototype hypersonic hardware on October 7, 2021 (Image source: DVIDS)

The US Army had maintained these assets for several years and conducted training exercises with them, including honing communication capabilities and mastering the command-and-control aspect of the system.

The successful deployment and exercises were critical given that the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon represents a novel system that has not been previously exercised in a battlefield scenario.