On Monday, the US Department of Defense tested an air-breathing hypersonic weapon that could be faster than five times the speed of sound. This was the first successful test of a weapon of this class since 2013.
This test was conducted when the United States and its global enemies accelerated the pace of manufacturing hypersonic weapons, the next generation of weapons that robbed enemy reaction times and traditional defeat mechanisms.
Russia announced in July that it had successfully tested the Tsipron hypersonic cruise missile, a weapon identified by President Vladimir Putin as part of a new generation missile system unmatched in the world. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said in a statement that a free-flight test of the concept of hypersonic air-breathing weapons (HAWC) was conducted last week.
“This takes us one step closer to moving from HAWC to a registration program that will bring the next generation to the U.S. military,” said Andrew Knoedler, director of the HAWC program at the Office of Tactical Technology. There is no deadline for the transfer, but Nordler told Reuters, “We are preparing the next vehicle and are working on additional flight tests later this year.”
DoD has identified hypersonic weapons and anti-hypersonic capabilities as our top technology priorities for security, said Wescremer, president of the Raytheon Missile Defense Business Unit.
The United States and our allies must prevent the use of these weapons and their ability to defeat them,” he said. “Investing in hypersonic strikes pays dividends in response to the progress already made by countries such as Russia and China,” Tom Karako, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters. ” In 2019, Raytheon will partner with Northrop Grumman to develop and manufacture hypersonic weapon engines.
Northrops’ scramjet engine technology uses the vehicle’s high speeds to forcibly compress the inflowing air before combustion, enabling sustained flight at hypersonic speeds. “HAWC vehicles work best in an oxygen-rich atmosphere where speed and maneuverability make it difficult to detect in time. They can hit targets much faster than subsonic missiles and have high explosives. It has a lot of kinetic energy without it.