The Navy’s Strategic Systems program conducted the second test of the First Stage Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) for the booster rocket of the Navy and Army’s hypersonic weapons on Oct. 28

This SRM test was a static fire test, part of a series of tests validating the newly developed common hypersonic missile. DoD is developing the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) missile with the Navy leading design of C-HGB while the Army is overseeing production.

The Navy said this live fire test follows earlier tests of the First and Second Stages on May 27 and Aug. 25. This was a static fire test, which has a rocket fire at full thrust while firmly held on the ground. This test occurred in Promontory, Utah.

The Navy said this marked the first time the First Stage SRM included a thrust vector control system, a “key component of the missile booster that allows the rocket motors to be maneuverable in flight.”

The Defense Department’s overall common hypersonic missile will consist of a first stage SRM as part of a new missile booster combined with the C-HGB. 

The Navy said these kinds of tests are “vital” in developing the common hypersonic weapon for the Navy and Army. The services will use the weapon for their respective Conventional Prompt Strike and Long Range Hypersonic Weapon programs. The Air Force will also use the same glide vehicle but a different launching mechanism with its Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon.

“Today’s successful test brings us one step closer to the design validation of our new hypersonic missile that will be fielded by both the Navy and the Army. We are on schedule for the upcoming flight test of the full common hypersonic missile,” Vice Adm. Johnny Wolfe Jr., Director of the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, said in a statement.

“Our partners across government, industry, and academia are continuing the excellent work that is essential to providing a hypersonic capability to our warfighters as quickly as possible,” he added.

“Fielding hypersonic weapons is one of the highest priority modernization areas the Department of Defense is pursuing to ensure our continued battlefield dominance, and the joint team did a tremendous job executing this test and keeping us on schedule,” Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition and head of the Army Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office, said.

This test came a week after a hypersonic weapon reportedly failed in an Alaska test due to a booster rocket failure. Reuters first reported the test failure.

Earlier in October, the Army finished fielding the ground equipment for its first prototype hypersonic weapon battery, with its first operational capability scheduled for fiscal year 2023 (Defense Daily, Oct. 7).

Thurgood recently told reporters that the initial battery will start receiving live missile rounds in a year and a “basic load”: of missiles will be delivered by the end of FY ‘23. He also said DoD plans for at least three tests scheduled for 2022.

In 2019 the Army selected Lockheed Martin [LMT] to serve as weapon systems integrator for its hypersonic weapon fired from a truck, with Dynetics [LDOS] set to produce the C-HGBs (Defense Daily, Aug. 30, 2019).