Northrop, Raytheon's Hypersonic Missile Conducts First Successful Test Flight

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Oct 01, 2021 - 02:40 AM

Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman completed the first test flight of an air-breathing hypersonic weapon last week for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force (USAF), according to a press release from Raytheon

The prototype weapon system is called the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, or HAWC, which performed an air launch from an aircraft wing. There was no mention of the type of aircraft used in the test, but it's likely a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. 

"This brings us one step closer to transitioning HAWC to a program of record that offers the next-generation capability to the U.S. military," said Andrew Knoedler, HAWC program manager in DARPA's Tactical Technology Office. 

"The missile, built by Raytheon Technologies, was released from an aircraft seconds before its Northrop Grumman scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engine kicked on," DARPA said. 

"The DoD (Department of Defense) has identified hypersonic weapons and counter-hypersonic capabilities as the highest technical priorities for our nation's security," said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon's Missiles & Defense business unit. 

The test comes after the USAF's AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon, or ARRW, failed an air-launch test on July 28 and days after USAF Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters he wasn't satisfied with the service's hypersonic program. 

The successful launch of the HAWC is good news for the U.S. who has fallen behind Russia and China in fielding hypersonic weapons. 

So whenever the next big conflict breaks out, hypersonic weapons and fifth-generation fighter jets will be key at rendering enemy defense systems useless.