VMAX Hypersonic Glider Test
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This news is classified in: Defense Hypersonic Weapons

Jun 28, 2023

VMAX Hypersonic Glider Test

France has successfully conducted an inaugural test of a prototype hypersonic glider, according to an announcement by the country's defense procurement agency. This milestone marks France's commitment to advancing missile technology capable of outmaneuvering sophisticated air defense systems.

The test involved the launch of a sounding rocket carrying a VMAX hypersonic glider from the Biscarosse missile test site located on the Bay of Biscay in southwestern France. Executing a highly challenging long-range trajectory, the flight test represented an unparalleled technical feat that will shape the future of France's national hypervelocity roadmap, as stated by the agency in a released statement.

While no specific details regarding the test's outcome were disclosed, the agency confirmed that the data collected during the test is currently undergoing analysis.

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In 2019, France enlisted the services of aerospace company ArianeGroup to oversee the VMAX program, which aims to develop a demonstrator for a hypersonic glider.

For several years, major nuclear powers have been exploring hypersonic gliders, which are maneuverable, unpowered vehicles capable of reaching speeds exceeding Mach 5 (6,000 km/h). Typically, these gliders are launched by a rocket to attain a high altitude tens of kilometers above the Earth before descending back to hypersonic speeds along with their payloads.

Hypersonic gliders are being designed to accommodate both nuclear and conventional warheads. Unlike ballistic missiles with predetermined launch trajectories, hypersonic gliders possess the ability to change direction rapidly at high speeds