DARPA and Air Force complete HAWC flight tests as hypersonic missiles move closer to production

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force have completed the fourth and final flight test of the Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program.

Flight tests of Art Aerojet Rocketdyne [AJRD] equipped with a ramjet engine Lockheed Martin [LMT] The missile, launched from a B-52, “completed a program that achieved all of its original objectives,” DARPA said on Jan. 30.

John Clark, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Skunk Works in Palmdale, California, said in a statement that “availability and reliability are important as we work to develop operational hypersonic solutions.”

DARPA and the Air Force conducted first flight test of HAWC in September 2021 with Raytheon Technologies [RTX]/Northrop Grumman [NOC] rocket version (Protection Every day, September 27, 2021). DARPA announced the first flight test of the Lockheed Martin/Aerojet HAWC missile last April and the second flight test of the Raytheon/Northrop HAWC missile last July.

Clarke said both Lockheed Martin/Aerojet flight tests “are consistent with performance models and predictions to help affordable, rapid development of future hypersonic weapons.”

In tests this month, “the Lockheed Martin rocket once again flew at speeds in excess of Mach 5, above 60,000 feet and beyond 300 nautical miles,” DARPA said. ‚ÄúThis latest flight demonstrated improved capabilities and performance. The nation’s hypersonic portfolio now has two potential hypersonic air-breathing missile designs (Lockheed Martin and Raytheon) that need to be improved and refined. [under the Air Force Research Laboratory] in the future.”

Andrew “Tippy” Knodler, DARPA’s HAWC program manager, said in a DARPA statement that program staff have faced “their share of challenges.”

“Through the pandemic, a strained supply chain and atmospheric rivers, our industry partners have moved forward, reducing risk where they can and embracing others,” he said. “They delivered on their promises by proving the concept was feasible.”

Knodler said the HAWC program “has created a generation of new hypersonic engineers and scientists.”

While Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said last year that air-breathing hypersonic missile designs that use HVRPD engines showed more promise for the U.S. than hypersonic booster glides, the latter appeared to get a boost from the first successful all-around event of the Lockheed Martin AGM-183A Air Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) prototype last month (Defense DailyDecember 12, 2022). DARPA and Air Force complete HAWC flight tests as hypersonic missiles move closer to production

Back to top button