Congress Eliminates ARRW System Funding

January/February 2024
By Shannon Bugos

As anticipated, Congress discontinued funding for the U.S. Air Force flagship hypersonic weapons program, the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).

After a string of testing failures since 2021 and the cancellation of ARRW system procurement earlier this year, Congress zeroed out the Biden administration’s request for $150 million for the hypersonic boost-glide system in the fiscal year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. (See ACT, May and November 2023.)

The Air Force intends to shift its focus instead to its Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile program, for which Congress authorized the requested $382 million.

Congress also reduced the procurement budget for the Navy’s hypersonic boost-glide system, Conventional Prompt Strike, by 33 percent as the full requested amount of $341 million was “early to need,” according to budget documents. Lawmakers ultimately authorized $256 million for procurement and $901 million for continued research and development.

The other Navy hypersonic weapons program, the Hypersonic Air-Launched Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare Increment II, was authorized at $92 million, a relatively slight decrease of 4 percent from the request.

Meanwhile, Congress authorized the requested $944 million for continued R&D and $157 million for procurement of the Army Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) system, known as Dark Eagle, despite recent testing setbacks. Less than 10 days after a canceled LRHW test, the Army acknowledged that it would not meet the 2023 deployment goal.