Hypersoniset aseet

Hypersoonisten ohjusten torjuntaa.

A defense official told Defense News the Pentagon chose not to announce the test of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, or HAWC, for about two weeks to avoid inflaming already-delicate tensions with Russia.

The free-flight test involved the version of the HAWC created by Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne and was released from a B-52 Stratofortress off the West Coast in mid-March, the defense official said.

A DARPA release Tuesday said the HAWC missile was boosted until its air-breathing, Aerojet-made scramjet engine ignited and quickly accelerated to speeds faster than Mach 5. DARPA said it maintained that speed for an extended period of time, reached altitudes higher than 65,000 feet, and flew for more 300 nautical miles.
The Pentagon’s fiscal 2023 budget request includes a “huge jump” for hypersonic weapons testing and facilities, something the defense industry has sought, according to the department’s head of research and development.

“If you look at this particular test asset ― facilities ― there’s a huge jump in the budget for equipment and test ranges,” the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, Heidi Shyu, told Defense News on Wednesday.

The Biden administration hasn’t yet released detailed budget tables, but Shyu said one thing in the request is an expansion of facilities at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex in Tullahoma, Tennessee, among other similar proposals.

“It’s where we’re putting a chunk of the investment because we have a wind tunnel that we’re upgrading,” Shyu said of the facility, which has received a spate of funding over recent years to prepare for a surge in workload.

Lawmakers boosted funding for Defense Department laboratory and testing infrastructure by $800 million in the $1.5 trillion federal spending package for fiscal 2022, which was signed into law last month. That infrastructure serves a range of emerging technologies such as hypersonic and directed-energy weapons.

Amid complaints from lawmakers that the Pentagon is trailing Russia and China in hypersonic weapons, the FY22 spending bill cut funding for what was thought to be the department’s leading effort — the Air Force’s AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, made by Lockheed Martin.

hypersooninen tuulitunneli syö valuuttaa
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, in a bid to mature its scramjet-powered hypersonic weapon program, is seeking $60 million in its fiscal 2023 budget for the next phase of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept.

The new-start program, dubbed MoHAWC, is a successor to HAWC, developed jointly with the Air Force using Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as prime contractors. Both companies conducted successful test flights of their vehicles, with Raytheon’s flying in September and Lockheed’s in March. The HAWC vehicles are powered by scramjet engines designed to offer better, more efficient performance at hypersonic speeds. Northrop Grumman built the propulsion system for Raytheon’s HAWC vehicle and Aerojet provided Lockheed’s.

With HAWC’s flight-test objectives completed, DARPA will build on that work through MoHAWC. Budget documents show the agency wants to further develop the vehicle’s scramjet propulsion system, upgrade integration algorithms, reduce the size of navigation components and improve its manufacturing approach.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, says it has completed the first successful demonstration of the Operational Fires program's ground-launched hypersonic missile system capability. The announcement comes right on the heels of the U.S. Air Force disclosing a second consecutive successful test of its Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, hypersonic missile booster, which took place yesterday.

A press release from DARPA today explained that the Operational Fires (OpFires) program test was executed at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The DARPA release claims that the system met all of its pre-established test objectives. This included the inaugural use of a U.S. Marine Corps 10-wheel Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) truck as a medium-range missile launcher, as well as the demonstration of missile canister egress, stable flight capture, and use of U.S. Army inventory artillery fire control systems to initiate the test mission.
DARPA's Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), a missile program conducted in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, completed another successful free flight in early July. This is the second demonstration vehicle built by Raytheon Technologies to meet test objectives. The first Raytheon flight was in September 2021. It was followed by success with a different contractor's vehicle configuration this past spring.

This second flight of Raytheon's HAWC design leveraged data collected during the 2021 flight. After release from an aircraft, the first stage boosted the vehicle to the expected scramjet ignition envelope. From there the missile's Northrop Grumman scramjet engine fired up and propelled the cruiser to speeds greater than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) for more than 300 nautical miles and reaching altitudes higher than 60,000 feet.

"This most recent test allowed exploration of more of the flight and scramjet engine operating envelopes," Andrew "Tippy" Knoedler, HAWC program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office. "DARPA demonstrations are always about learning, whether it's in the interest of feasibility or practicality, and this time we certainly got new information that will further improve performance."

Air-breathing vehicles use air captured from the atmosphere to achieve sustained propulsion. The speed and maneuverability of such hypersonic cruise missiles allow both evasion of defenses and quick strikes.

"The Navy and Air Force will have access to the data we've collected as they make development decisions for future high-speed weapons," said Knoedler.

The HAWC flight test data will help validate affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches that will field air-breathing hypersonic missiles to warfighters in the near future.