It was a long-awaited test. France carried out, Monday evening June 26, the first test flight of the VMaX hypersonic glider, a hypervelocity weapon capable of hitting a target at least five times the speed of sound (i.e. more than 6,174 km / h). The rocket carrying the demonstrator was fired at 10 p.m. from the site of the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA Missile Testing) in Biscarrosse, in the Landes. On Twitter, a weather service account posted a photo of the white trail left in the sky by the test.
Vmax supersonic glider test firing from the Cazaux base this evening visible from a large part of the Region �� Del Phine pic.twitter.com/7ptxO9yZRs
The aircraft “contained many on-board technological innovations” and “its flight test, on a very demanding long-range trajectory, constituted an unprecedented technical challenge which prepares the future of our national hypervelocity roadmap”, details the Ministry of Armies in a statement released on Tuesday. The General Delegate for Armaments, Emmanuel Chiva, takes the opportunity to thank all the teams involved.
Developed by the space giant ArianeGroup with the support of Onera (the French center for aerospace research), the VMaX glider is a maneuvering vehicle. It is capable of significantly modifying its trajectory during flight, unlike ballistic missiles. Thanks to an unpredictable trajectory, it can avoid possible interceptors.
The VMaX was launched on Monday evening by a small sounding rocket whose launch pad had been specifically installed in Biscarrosse for this test campaign. The first flight of this demonstrator unveiled in 2019 was due to take place at the end of 2021, but had been postponed several times.