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U.S. Army Receives Ground Equipment for Its Dark Eagle Hypersonic Weapon System

The U.S. Army is one step closer to fielding its first operational Long Range Hypersonic Weapon system, known as the Dark Eagle. Recently, the service has completed delivery of the prototype hardware for its hypersonic weapon system, achieving a significant milestone for its long-range precision fire modernization effort.
U.S. Army receives ground equipment for its Long Range Hypersonic Weapon system 7 photos
The first prototype hypersonic hardware gets delivered to soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery BrigadeThe first prototype hypersonic hardware gets delivered to soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery BrigadeThe first prototype hypersonic hardware gets delivered to soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery BrigadeThe first prototype hypersonic hardware gets delivered to soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery BrigadeThe first prototype hypersonic hardware gets delivered to soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery BrigadeThe first prototype hypersonic hardware gets delivered to soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade
Hypersonic weapons are a critical component of the Army's long-range precision fire modernization effort. They can fly at Mach 5 speeds, offering a new capability that combines speed, maneuverability, and altitude to defeat both time-critical and heavily defended targets.

The Long Range Hypersonic Weapon, or LRHW, is a land-based, ground-launched system that will provide a crucial weapon and a significant deterrent to enemies. The system consists of a large rocket booster with a nose cone that houses the unpowered Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB). When the booster reaches a certain altitude and speed, it releases the C-HGB, which travels at hypersonic speeds towards its target.

Delivery of the hardware for the LRHW first began in March this year, and after several months, the U.S. Army finally received the nation's first prototype hypersonic ground equipment. This includes a battery operations center, four transporter erector launchers, and modified trucks and trailers.

The Army plans to deploy the LRHW in batteries of four launch trucks, each carrying two missiles in transporter erector launchers. Last year, the service began a series of joint tests, which focused on range, environmental extremes, and contested environments. Now, the next step for the soldiers is to learn how to use the new technology.

"From a blank piece of paper in March 2019, we – along with our industry partners and joint services – delivered this hardware in just over two years. Now, Soldiers can begin training," said Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space, and Rapid Acquisition.

By delivering the ground hardware first, troops will be able to train on the equipment, create strategies for this system, and develop tactics and procedures. If everything stays on track, the LRHW is expected to enter service in 2023.

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