The United States has successfully tested a Raytheon hypersonic weapon – an air-breathing hypersonic weapon capable of speeds five times the speed of sound, according to an announcement by the Pentagon on Monday.
The mission, which resulted in the first successful test of a cruise missile of this type since 2013, was completed by the US Air Force in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
Free flight testing of the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) took place last week, and demonstrated the weapon’s “highly effective” capabilities, DARPA program manager Andrew Knoedler said in a statement.
Mr Knoedler said: “HAWC’s successful free flight test is the culmination of years of successful government and industry partnerships, where a single, purpose-driven team accomplished an extremely challenging goal through intense collaboration.”
He added: “This historic flight industry would not have been possible without the dedication of flight test personnel from the US Air Force and Navy, who battled the pandemic to make the magic happen.”
The mission was intended to test, among other aspects, safe separation from the launch aircraft, booster ignition and engine ignition. According to the DARPA press release, all primary test objectives were met.
Manufactured by Raytheon Technologies, the HAWC missile’s engine propelled the cruiser to Mach 5 – five times the speed of sound.
The press release elaborated: “The HAWC vehicle operates best in oxygen-rich environments, where speed and maneuverability make timely detection difficult. It can strike targets more rapidly than subsonic missiles.” and possesses significant kinetic energy even without high explosives.”
Mr. Knoedler said: “The HAWC free flight test was a successful demonstration of capabilities that would make hypersonic cruise missiles a highly effective tool for our warships. This brings us one step closer to converting HAWC into a program of record Which gives the US military the next generation of capability.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Raytheon