The United States, in partnership with Raytheon Technologies, successfully conducted a hypersonic weapons test last week, opening an opportunity for more effective military operations.
DARPA has been exploring technology involving hypersonic speeds, five times faster than the speed of sound, because it offers “the potential for military operations from longer ranges with shorter response times and enhanced effectiveness compared to current military systems,” according to its website.
"The HAWC free-flight test was a successful demonstration of the capabilities that will make hypersonic cruise missiles a highly effective tool for our warfighters,” said Andrew "Tippy" Knoedler, HAWC program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office. "This brings us one step closer to transitioning HAWC to a program of record that offers next-generation capability to the U.S military."
“HAWC’s successful free-flight test is the culmination of years of successful government and industry partnership, where a single, purpose-driven team accomplished an extremely challenging goal through intense collaboration,” Knoedler added. “This historic flight would not have been possible without the dedication of industry, U.S. Air Force, and Navy flight test personnel who persevered through the pandemic to make the magic happen.”
A Northrop Grumman scramjet released the missile, built by Raytheon, and the goals of the mission were vehicle integration, release sequence, separation from the launch craft, booster ignition, and cruise. All of the objectives were met.
"This is a history-making moment, and this success paves the way for an affordable, long-range hypersonic system in the near term to strengthen national security," said Colin Whelan, vice president of advanced technology at Raytheon Missiles and Defense, in a statement. "This test proves we can deliver the first operational hypersonic scramjet, providing a significant increase in warfighting capabilities."
Raytheon and Northrop Grumman signed a contract last year to integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engines onto Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons.
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Original Author: Mike Brest
Original Location: Air Force and Raytheon conduct successful hypersonic missile test