The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force will move two hypersonic weapon variants to initial free-flight tests this year after completing a series of captive carry tests as part of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept program.
Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin each have developed and tested their air vehicle configurations as part of the joint HAWC program, which seeks to build and demonstrate technologies to advance the development of an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile, DARPA said Tuesday.
The upcoming test flights of the two companies will focus on assessing thermal management and hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion approaches to facilitate prolonged hypersonic cruise of the weapons systems.
“Completing the captive carry series of tests demonstrates both HAWC designs are ready for free flight,” said Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler, HAWC program manager at DARPA’s tactical technology office. “These tests provide us a large measure of confidence – already well informed by years of simulation and wind tunnel work – that gives us faith the unique design path we embarked on will provide unmatched capability to U.S. forces.”