An Army hypersonic weapon test scheduled for Wednesday was canceled following pre-flight checks, the service confirmed on Thursday.

The test was planned to take place at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, as the Army aims to field the first operational battery of its Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) by the end of year.

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)

“The department was able to successfully collect data on the performance of the ground hardware and software that will inform the continued progress toward fielding offensive hypersonic weapons. Delivering hypersonic weapons remains a top priority for the department,” the Army said in a statement to Defense Daily.

Wednesday’s canceled event, first reported by Florida Today, follows a flight test planned for early March at Cape Canaveral that was also called off following pre-flight checks (Defense Daily, March 10). 

“During a recently planned flight test, automated pre-flight checks identified that a battery did not activate which resulted in not conducting the test. We are aggressively investigating the cause of the no test and will continue to move forward with our development and additional testing in support of Army fielding as soon as the cause is identified and corrected,” Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe, the Navy’s director of strategic systems programs, told the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee during a hearing soon after the canceled Army and Navy joint test in March. 

Lt. Gen. Robert Rasch, director of the Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) that has overseen LRHW development, affirmed in August that the program is on track to field the first live missile rounds to the unit operating the initial battery of the new weapon system before the end of 2023 (Defense Daily, Aug. 9). 

“It’s going to happen. We’re not there yet. I’m not here popping the champagne bottle right here on the stage, but we’re going to get there. I have confidence in the industry team and I have confidence in our team to get back out to prove this capability,” Rasch said during remarks at the Space & Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. “There’s missiles lined up in various stages of production, ready to finish buttoning up and get those out to the field.”

The Army’s LRHW, which has been in development for about four years, will share the same all-up missile round and canister as well as the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) with the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike program.

In 2019, the Army chose Lockheed Martin [LMT] to serve as the weapon systems integrator for the LRHW, which will be fired from a truck, while Dynetics [LDOS] is tasked with producing the C-HGB.

The Army completed fielding of the ground equipment for its first prototype hypersonic weapon battery, minus the live rounds, in the fall of 2021 to the soldiers from the I Corps’ 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Field Artillery Brigade at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington and who have been testing on the equipment since then.