Dark Eagle US Hypersonic Missile Test Cancellation Raises Concerns
The abrupt cancellation of the US hypersonic missile test, the fourth setback in a row, raises concerns about the U.S. Army’s pursuit of hypersonic capabilities, potentially delaying deployment and highlighting technical challenges in this critical field.
Dark Eagle Hypersonic Missile Program Faces Fourth Consecutive Setback with US Hypersonic Missile Test Cancellation
In a disappointing turn of events, the U.S. Army’s efforts to advance its hypersonic missile capabilities faced another setback last week as the highly anticipated flight test of the Dark Eagle hypersonic medium-range land-attack missile was abruptly canceled at Cape Canaveral. The US hypersonic missile test, known as Joint Flight Campaign 2, had a primary objective of evaluating the functionality of the missile battery’s Weapon Control System and Battery Operations Center components. However, just before the scheduled launch, a pre-flight check uncovered undisclosed issues, prompting the cancellation.
According to a published article in Popular Mechanics, this cancellation represents the fourth consecutive setback for the Dark Eagle program and its Navy counterpart, the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) missile. Both missiles share a Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) with adaptations for different launch platforms, including submarines and Zumwalt-class stealth destroyers. The CPS program suffered a significant failure in June 2022 when US hypersonic missile test failed to release its hypersonic glider, followed by the cancellation of a Dark Eagle test in late 2022 due to pre-flight issues. A rescheduled Dark Eagle test set for March 2023 was also canceled due to battery failures detected during pre-flight checks.
Uncertain Future: Dark Eagle Deployment and the Ongoing Challenges in US Hypersonic Missile Testing
Dark Eagle’s deployment, initially set for September, now hangs in uncertainty as the Army must pass three critical US hypersonic missile test, potentially impacting plans for additional batteries in 2025 and 2027. The recent cancellation in US hypersonic missile test, shrouded in limited details, could further hinder the Army and Navy’s hypersonic missile program. Similarly, the Air Force faced its own hurdles in April, cancelling the ARRW hypersonic weapon after repeated failures, highlighting the formidable obstacles in advancing hypersonic technology amid global competition from Russia and China.