The Pentagon will conduct a crucial flight test of a new ultra-high speed missile this week that is a key part of the strategic weapons program of preparing arms that can attack any point on earth in 30 minutes.
The flight test of the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon will take place as early as Monday from the Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, said defense officials familiar with test planning.
The missile will be boosted to near space on a rocket and then glide to the Reagan Test Site on the South Pacific Kwajalein Atoll at speeds of several thousand miles an hour.
The distance for the flight is around 3,900 miles and an earlier test of the missile reached the site in around 30 minutes. The first missile test achieved speeds of around Mach 5 or about 3,600 miles per hour.
The new missile is a key element of the Prompt Global Strike program that seeks high-speed strike arms that can hit targets rapidly with conventional warheads. The system is designed to attack terrorists or storage or development areas used for weapons of mass destruction and missiles that are discovered and must be struck quickly.