DARPA nails latest US hypersonic missile test flight

DARPA nails latest US hypersonic missile test flight
Artist's concept of the Lockheed Martine hypersonic missile
Artist's concept of the Lockheed Martine hypersonic missile
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Artist's concept of the Lockheed Martine hypersonic missile
Artist's concept of the Lockheed Martine hypersonic missile

A DARPA-led project has successfully completed the final test of Lockheed Martin's Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) missile. Powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet, the craft reached a speed in excess of Mach 5 over a course of 300 nm (350 miles, 560 km).

This month's test flight was a joint venture by DARPA, the US Air Force, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Lockheed Martin, and Aerojet Rocketdyne. As in the previous two test flights, the vehicle consisting of a solid rocket motor booster, a glider protective shroud, and a glider vehicle containing a kinetic-energy projectile warhead was dropped from a B-52H Stratofortress bomber.

After deployment, the booster automatically fired, boosting the glider to supersonic speeds, after which a scramjet engine took over, accelerating the glider to over five times the speed of sound as it reached an altitude of over 60,000 ft (18,000 m).

According to Lockheed, the test doubled the data on the scramjet engine used to power the missile, which is one of two versions being considered by the US Air Force. The other is being developed by Raytheon. The data will be used to improve the technology and widen the performance envelope before the next phase of three test flights where the missile will be equipped with a live warhead.

"The HAWC program created a generation of new hypersonic engineers and scientists,” said Andrew "Tippy'' Knoedler, the HAWC program manager. "HAWC also brought a wealth of data and progress to the air-breathing hypersonic community. The industry teams attacked the challenge of scramjet-powered vehicles in earnest, and we had the grit and luck to make it work."

Sources: DARPA, Lockheed

Brian M
Unfortunately, still somewhat behind the claimed Russian Zircon missile that can evade Western air defenses by flying at 7,000 mph,
and worse already deployed at sea. Of course, it could be a Russian bluff, but it's not a good balance of power for Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) to keep the peace.
Just how experimental this is can be deduced from noticing that at mach 5, 350 miles is about 6 minutes of flight time. If that doubled the total amount of data, that means these things have flown for about 12 minutes total thus far.
Oh good, we are explaining to the Russians how our hypersonic missiles function. Not to be confused with our supersonic missiles which we have had for years but never discussed - after all, the name is all wrong - it sounds like a glorified airplane. But hypersonic - well, you know the Russians have left us way behind in that sphere, we couldn't develop such technology without their knowledge and assistance......lolol.
“Russian bluff”? The Russian navy frigate ‘Admiral Gorshkov,’ is first warship getting 3M22 Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles to begin routine combat service. Trials since 2020. Next in line, or so it seems:: Admiral Kasatonov, Admiral Golovko, Marshal Shaposhnikov.
Anyway huge aircraft carriers are already doomed. One rocket on the flight deck and you can sell them for scrap.