Breaking News: U.S. Unleashes Hypersonic Weaponry in Asia-Pacific! What Does This Mean for China?

For the first time, the United States has conducted a live-fire test of a hypersonic in the Asia-Pacific region, sending a clear signal to China.

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On Sunday morning, a B-52 bomber took off from Guam before launching the missile, known as the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW). Guam is considered crucial by for swiftly countering potential Chinese military actions, particularly in the event of a Taiwan invasion.

The is striving to catch up in the hypersonic arms competition with China, which has heavily invested in research and development over the past decade to enhance its hypersonic weaponry capabilities.

An Air Force representative stated that “A B-52H Stratofortress conducted a test of the All-Up-Round AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon.” The test involved launching a fully functional prototype operational , focusing on evaluating the ARRW's overall performance.

The bomber departed from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the trial took place at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site in the Marshall Islands, according to the spokesperson.

Although the Air Force doesn't disclose specific objectives, the exercise aimed to “advance a range of hypersonic programs,” providing valuable insights into this advanced technology.

This launch follows recent releases of photos by the Air Force depicting the Lockheed Martin-built AGM-183 at the strategic island Air Force base, part of the “hypersonic familiarization training” for B-52 crew members of the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron.

Last year, the Air Force announced discontinuation of the AGM-183 program, which had encountered mixed success in previous testing rounds.

Hypersonic missiles pose a significant challenge to conventional missile defenses due to their high speeds exceeding Mach 5 and their hypersonic glide vehicles that can evade ground-based radar and counter incoming fire while delivering their payload.

Beijing has been expanding its arsenal of medium-range missiles such as the Dongfeng-17, placing U.S. military bases in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines within range.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

China is progressing towards deploying intercontinental variants, as evidenced by the test flights of missiles around the in 2021, as highlighted by Jeffrey McCormick, a senior analyst with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, in a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing.

The combination of China's hypersonic missiles and its formidable ballistic missile arsenal would provide it with a strategic advantage against U.S. forces responding to emergencies in the Western Pacific, such as a potential Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

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