B-52 Bomber Performs Simulated Hypersonic Missile Strike in Alaska Exercise

Tests for the AGM-183A hypersonic missile continue, this time as part of the Northern Edge (NE21) training exercise in Alaska. The strike simulation was successful in demonstrating an attack (kill chain) from sensor to shooter.
B-52 bomber at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, 2016 1 photo
Photo: Air Force Global Strike Command
A B-52H Stratofortress bomber demonstrated the phases of a complete kill chain loop employing a hypersonic missile, during a Northern Edge maneuver, on May 5. According to a USAF statement, the B-52 from the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron, Barksdale Air Force Base, flew 13 hours from Louisiana to Alaska, and back.

Throughout the flight, the bomber received target data from sensors more than 1,000 nautical miles away, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, through the All-Domain Operations Capability experiment (ADOC-E). After receiving the data, the crew on the B-52 then simulated striking the target, which was 600 nautical miles away, using the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon.

The simulation demonstrated a successful beyond-line-of-sight kill chain, allowing crew members to identify the data links that are necessary in order to complete the loop.

The ADOC-E is a joint team with coordination authority, which facilitates long-range joint fires, with the objective of synchronizing joint functions. According to the statement, Northern Edge provided a realistic threat environment that heightened the challenging aspects of this strike simulation.

NE21, the biggest training exercise to unfold in Alaska, is designed to demonstrate live-virtual-constructive capabilities and improve joint interoperability. The exercise began earlier this month and will continue until May 14.

The AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon was developed by Lockheed Martin for the U.S. Air Force. Designed to provide rapid response, this hypersonic missile is important for striking essential targets in difficult locations, from a distance that is far away enough to not expose the crew that’s launching the strike. The ARRW missile has completed several tests so far and is expected to enter production in 2022.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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