Missile explosion (stock image)
Missile explosion (stock image)ISTOCK

The US Air Force successfully tested a hypersonic missile that travels at over five times the speed of sound on Friday, according to Fox News.

The air-to-ground All-Up-Round AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) was launched off the coast of Southern California, Air Force officials said.

It was the first time a fully operational prototype of the high speed missile had been tested, the Air Force said in a statement.

The hypersonic missile was launched from a B-52H Stratofortress, a subsonic strategic bomber built for long ranges. It detonated in the target area, demonstrating that the test’s objectives were met, the Air Force said.

"The ARRW team successfully designed and tested an air-launched hypersonic missile in five years," Armament Directorate Program executive officer Brig. Gen. Jason Bartolomei said. "I am immensely proud of the tenacity and dedication this team has shown to provide a vital capability to our warfighter."

The Air Force explained that ARRW was created to "enable the US to hold fixed, high-value, time-sensitive targets at risk in contested environments,"

The Army and Navy also have ongoing hypersonic missile programs. The Army plans to have the capability to launch hypersonic missiles by 2023.