US test-fires supersonic cruise missile for the first time

The US announced the successful test launch of the first HAWC hypersonic cruise missile model, but did not give details.

The Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Raytheon Corporation last week tested a naturally aspirated hypersonic weapon (HAWC), but the information has only been made public. yesterday. This is the first time DARPA has tested a hypersonic missile, more than a year after the manufacturer announced the completion of a test flight with a model mounted under the launch aircraft.

“The test flight with HAWC was successful, demonstrating the capabilities that can make hypersonic cruise missiles an extremely effective tool for combat forces. This takes us one step further towards deployment. deploy HAWC as the next-generation weapon for the US military,” said Andrew Knoedler, HAWC program manager.

Raytheon's HAWC rocket simulation graphics.  Photo: Raytheon.

Raytheon’s HAWC rocket simulation graphics. Photo: Raytheon.

The test flight consisted of the installation and release of the projectile from the aircraft, testing the ability to safely detach from the launch pad, activating and detaching the accelerator, activating the main engine and cruising. “All major objectives of the test have been completed,” the DARPA statement read.

There are not many details about the design of the projectile designed by Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, other than that it uses a scramjet to maintain supersonic speed after separation of the supersonic stage and is capable of capable of reaching the speed of 5 times the speed of sound.

HAWC is a joint program between DARPA and the US Air Force to develop key technologies for aircraft-launched hypersonic cruise missiles. This project focuses on fast, efficient and affordable test flights to evaluate the technology.

Major US defense corporations such as Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are competing for the contract to develop and supply HAWC missiles to the US military.

HAWC was originally designed to destroy ground targets, but later added the ability to attack warships to increase options for US naval commanders. It can be mounted on many US Navy aircraft such as the F-35C stealth fighter, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet multirole fighter and the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, along with bombers. B-1 and B-52 of the US Air Force. However, this is just a proposal and has not been considered by the US military.

The US is developing a series of hypersonic missile programs to close the gap in this area with rivals such as Russia and China.

Vice Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff John Hyten once admitted that Washington lags behind Moscow and Beijing in terms of hypersonic weapons, saying that the US will take many years and have to spend a lot of resources to regain its position. leading position in this field.

Vu Anh (Follow Drive)

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