The US Air Force has said it successfully tested a hypersonic weapon that hit five times the speed of sound.
A B-52 bomber was used to release an Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) off the coast of Southern California on May 14, the Air Force said in a statement on Monday.
“Following separation from the aircraft, the ARRW’s booster ignited and burned for expected duration, achieving hypersonic speeds five times greater than the speed of sound,” it said.
The Air Force hailed the launch as “a major accomplishment.”
The US test comes in the backdrop of the ongoing Ukraine war, where Russia has used hypersonic missiles, which are difficult to track and intercept due to their sheer speed and maneuverability.
Last month, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Russian forces have used hypersonic weapons “several times” against Ukraine, but maintained that they have not been “a major game changer.”
Washington’s AUKUS alliance with the UK and Australia also announced plans in early April to develop hypersonic and counter-hypersonic weapons.