US Conducts Successful Hypersonic Weapon Test

Photo: US Air Force [via Defense One]

The Facts

  • On Mon., the US announced it had successfully test-fired a hypersonic weapon. The Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) was released from a B-52 bomber over the coast of Southern California.

  • The "game-changing" ARRW flew at five times the speed of sound and, according to a US Air Force spokesman, will be made operational as soon as possible. Previously, the service had failed three times to successfully test the weapon.

The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Although the effectiveness of hypersonic weapons must be analyzed soberly, the US can no longer afford to be held back by scientific and political debates while leaving supremacy in this area to China and Russia. Washington must finance advancements with this technology, and this is only the first step in developing sound hypersonic capabilities.

Establishment-critical narrative

The US should reconsider its approach. Despite the hype, hypersonic weapons aren't an actual and effective revolution in weapons technology. They are threatening primarily because of the arms race they trigger - a development that the US has only encouraged by withdrawing from crucial arms control treaties.

Establishment split



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