A B-52 Stratofortress heavy, long-range bomber took to the skies over Edwards Air Force Base in California on Wednesday with an inactive, sensor-only prototype of the new AGM-183A Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), one of a handful of hypersonic weapons the Air Force is developing for the B-52s.

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(U.S. Army/C. Todd Lopez)
The Army says it will be able to field combat vehicle-mounted lasers and hypersonic missiles within the next four years to prepare for combat against rivals like Russia or China that may employ enemy drones or their own hypersonic weapons.
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Associated Press photo

China is showcasing its powerful new hypersonic anti-ship cruise missile, which could raise the stakes as tensions flare between China's military and the U.S. Navy.

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Washington is stepping up its efforts to develop and field hypersonic weapons as it competes to retain America’s technological advantage over Russia and China, both of which are developing similar systems.

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Editor’s Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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The sleek aircraft, really more rocket than plane, dropped from the wing of a B-52 before shooting through the sky above Point Mugu Sea Range off the California coast, leaving a long, white contrail in its wake.

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