Army experiences another hiccup in hypersonic weapons testing

A critical flight test for the Army's hypersonic missile program that was scheduled for Oct. 26, did not go forward as planned, DefenseScoop has learned.
The delivery of the first prototype hypersonic hardware to Soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade is completed on Oct. 7, 2021, with a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Karleshia Gater)

A critical flight test for the Army’s hypersonic missile program that was scheduled to launch on Oct. 26 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, did not go forward as planned, DefenseScoop has learned.

“The flight test did not occur,” Army spokesperson Ellen Lovett said in response to questions from DefenseScoop on Wednesday.

This marks the latest in a series of hiccups associated with the Army’s in-development Dark Eagle missile, which was previously known as the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW). In March, a slated test was called off due to an issue with the battery activation. Another test planned around September was also held up due to a separate weapons issue.

Army officials had said they wanted to conduct another flight test before moving forward with fielding the system.


The service had originally aimed to field the weapon before the end of fiscal 2023, which came on Sept. 30. After the previously scheduled test was aborted, officials said they hoped to field the system by the end of the calendar year.

Lovett declined to provide more information about why the test scheduled for last week did not happen — and whether it was cancelled or a result of a major technical failure.  

“The Department was able to successfully collect data on the performance of the ground hardware and software that will inform the continued progress towards fielding offensive hypersonic weapons,” she said.

In response to further inquiries, the spokesperson also did not provide an updated timeline for when the Army is now anticipating it will field the weapon or comment on any potentially associated delays.

“Delivering hypersonic weapons remains a top priority for the DOD,” Lovett told DefenseScoop.

Brandi Vincent

Written by Brandi Vincent

Brandi Vincent is DefenseScoop's Pentagon correspondent. She reports on emerging and disruptive technologies, and associated policies, impacting the Defense Department and its personnel. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Brandi produced a long-form documentary and worked as a journalist at Nextgov, Snapchat and NBC Network. She was named a 2021 Paul Miller Washington Fellow by the National Press Foundation and was awarded SIIA’s 2020 Jesse H. Neal Award for Best News Coverage. Brandi grew up in Louisiana and received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

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