Tuesday, May 21, 2024

France conducts first flight test of its VMaX hypersonic glider

The French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) announced that it has successfully conducted the first-ever test of the new VMaX hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) demonstrator.

The test was conducted on June 26, 2023, from the DGA Biscarrosse site on the southwest coast of France near Bordeaux. The VMaX hyperspeed glider demonstrator was lifted into the air by a sounding rocket.

A hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), like all weapons delivered by medium- and longer-range rocket boosters, can travel at speeds of Mach 5 and greater. The key difference between missiles armed with HGVs and missiles armed with ballistic re-entry vehicles) is not their speed but their ability to maneuver and change course after they are released from their rocket boosters. This provides an added level of complexity to any attempt to intercept them with missile defense systems.

This first VMaX hypersonic glider demonstrator carried a range of cutting-edge technological innovations. Its flight test, on a very demanding long-range trajectory, holds immense significance for the future of France’s hypervelocity roadmap, according to a statement from du ministère des Armées.

The technical analyzes of the numerous data collected during the test flight are underway to draw lessons for upcoming experimental flights.