|Type||Air-launched ballistic missile with hypersonic glide vehicle|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||United States Air Force (cancelled)|
|Unit cost||$15-$18 million|
|1000 mi (1600 km)|
|Maximum speed||Mach 7-8 (planned)|
The AGM-183 ARRW ("Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon") was a hypersonic air-to-ground missile planned for use by the United States Air Force. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the boost-glide vehicle is propelled to a maximum speed of more than Mach 5 by a rocket motor before gliding toward its target. The program was cancelled in March 2023 after multiple failed tests.
In August 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded a $480 million contract to Lockheed Martin for the development of an air-launched hypersonic weapon. The resulting missile, the AGM-183A ARRW ("Arrow"), underwent an initial captive carry flight test aboard a U.S. Air Force B-52 in June 2019.
In February 2020, the Trump Administration proposed a 23% increase in funding for hypersonic weapons, and the same month, the U.S. Air Force announced it had decided to move forward with acquisition of the AGM-183A.
In March 2020, Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael D. Griffin stated that the United States was "close at hand" to having a hypersonic boost-glide weapon ready to field.
In early 2023, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that a production run of 300 ARRWs would have a unit cost of $14.9 million per missile and a program cost of $5.3 billion including platform integration and 20 years of sustainment. For a production run of 100, each copy would cost $18 million with a program cost of $2.2 billion.
A "Super-Duper Missile" was announced by US President Donald Trump during a press availability in the Oval Office on May 15, 2020. According to Trump, the Super-Duper Missile is 17 times faster than existing missiles in the United States arsenal; however, Kingston Reif of the Arms Control Association believes the claim may have been a misstatement. PBS news correspondent Nick Schifrin has theorized that the "Super-Duper Missile" is the AGM-183A, as has the China Times.
The AGM-183A had a claimed maximum speed of more than 15,000 miles per hour (24,000 km/h; Mach 20).
The weapon used a boost-glide system, in which it was propelled to hypersonic speed by a rocket on which it was mounted before gliding toward a target. According to Popular Mechanics, the U.S. Air Force was, as of April 2020, considering using the remaining fleet of B-1B bombers as AGM-183A firing platforms, with each aircraft carrying up to 31 of the weapons mounted internally and on external pylons.
A booster flight test of ARRW took place in April 2021 at Point Mugu Sea Range, off the coast of Southern California but did not launch successfully; this was the eighth test for ARRW.
Another test in May 2021 for the ARRW's avionics, sensors and communications systems, was successful. The test did not use any of the ARRW’s systems but instead used a B-52 based system. On a flight to Alaska from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, the B-52 was able to receive target data from over 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) away.
In July 2021, a second flight test at Point Mugu Sea Range, again being dropped from a B-52 bomber, was a failure as the rocket motor failed to ignite. On December 15, 2021, the third flight test failed to launch as well. On March 9, 2022, Congress halved funding for ARRW and transferred the balance to ARRW's R&D account to allow for further testing, which puts the procurement contract at risk.
On May 14, 2022, the 419th Flight Test Squadron and the Global Power Bomber Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base conducted the first successful test of the ARRW off the coast of Southern California. The weapon demonstrated separation from the B-52H Stratofortress. Its booster ignited and burned for the expected duration, and the weapon was able to achieve speeds greater than Mach 5 (6,100 km/h; 3,800 mph).
The USAF conducted another successful test of the missile on July 12, 2022.
The USAF completed the first All-Up-Round (AUR) test on December 9, 2022. This test included both the booster and hypersonic glide vehicle. The USAF 412th Test Wing used a B-52H Stratofortress, at Edwards Air Force Base.
On March 13, 2023, the United States Air Force conducted a hypersonic test-launch of an operational AGM-183A prototype from a Boeing B-52H Stratofortress by the 412th Test Wing located at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the test had failed.
On August 19, 2023, the Air Force conducted another test of the ARRW, and said it had "gained valuable new insights into the capabilities" of ARRW.
On March 29, 2023, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, Andrew Hunter told the House Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, a committee responsible for providing oversight for military ammunition, acquisition, and aviation programs, that the AGM-183A program would not proceed, although the ARRW program’s last two all-up round test flights would proceed in order to collect data to help with future hypersonic programs.
The reason we went with ARRW was not that HCSW was bad, but ARRW is smaller; we can carry twice as many on the B-52, and it's possible it could be on the F-15