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US hypersonic weapon mission aborted after launch

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This US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) artists rendering shows the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2).

Technical complication has resulted in the termination of a mission to test a US hypersonic weapon and the destruction of the weapon itself.

The weapon, known as the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which was developed by Sandia National Laboratory and the US Army, is part of a program to create a missile that will destroy targets anywhere on Earth within an hour of getting data and permission to launch.

“We had to terminate,” said Maureen Schumann, a spokeswoman for the US Defense Department. “The weapon exploded during takeoff and fell back down in the range complex,” she added.

She said the mission was aborted to ensure public safety, and no one was injured in the incident.

Some have described the US program as part of an arms race with China, which tested a hypersonic system in January.

James Acton, a defense analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said, “I believe the US program is significantly more sophisticated than the Chinese program.”

However, Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said, “The United States has never assumed that these … are going to be systems that you can use against a power like China by themselves.”


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