Defense

US kept missile test quiet to avoid raising tensions with Russia

The U.S. military kept a successful hypersonic missile test under wraps for two weeks in order to avoid raising tensions with Russia, a defense official confirmed to The Hill.

The test of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), announced Tuesday, took place in mid-March as President Biden was preparing to travel to Europe. It also occurred days after Russian forces claimed to use a hypersonic missile in Ukraine, the official said.  

CNN was the first to report on the delayed announcement.  

Launched from a B-52 bomber off the West Coast, the HAWC used a booster engine to accelerate the missile to Mach 5 — five times the speed of sound, according to a statement from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The agency conducted the test along with the Air Force and Lockheed Martin.

The missile eventually “reached altitudes greater than 65,000 feet and flew for more than 300 nautical miles,” the statement noted. 

The test marks the first time the Lockheed Martin version of the system completed a successful flight. DARPA in September also held a successful test flight of a Raytheon-built missile that used a Northrop Grumman-made engine.  

The test took place less than a week after Russia on March 19 claimed to strike a Ukrainian weapons storage facility with a hypersonic missile.  

Biden was also readying for a visit to NATO allies in Europe, which included a stop in Poland to meet with Ukraine’s foreign minister and defense minister. 

This is not the first time the United States has taken steps to avoid unnecessary escalation of tensions between Washington and Moscow after Russia began its attack on Ukraine in late February. 

The U.S. military in March postponed a test of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile before altogether canceling the launch on Friday.  

Tags Joe Biden Russia-Ukraine war

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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