DARPA, Lockheed Continue ‘OpFires’ Next-Gen Missile System Dev’t

Michael Leahy
Michael Leahy

Lockheed Martin and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have begun the third increment of an effort focused on developing ground-launched missile systems to handle the operation of next-generation weapons like hypersonics technology.

DARPA said Tuesday that Lockheed leads Phase 3 of the Operational Fires initiative, which includes finalizing system architectures and vehicle integration as well as design, development and maturation of first-stage booster and launcher components.

The OpFires program may also cover full-scale static fire tests and subsystem assessments ahead of integrated flight tests, according to the agency.

Lockheed secured the $31.9M contract for the Phase 3 OpFires effort in January.

“DARPA enjoys a high level of collaboration among a diverse industry and government team that is critical for meeting the Phase 3 program objectives and eventually demonstrating this critical hypersonic capability,” said Michael Leahy, director of the Tactical Technology Office at DARPA.

The agency has partnered with companies like Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Exquadrum for phases one and two of OpFires since 2018.

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