A hypersonic missile system that Lockheed Martin developed as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Operational Fires program completed its initial flight test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
The ground-launched OpFires system met all test objectives, including missile canister egress, use of a U.S. Marine Corps logistics truck as a medium-range launcher, use of U.S. Army artillery fire control systems and stable flight capture, DARPA said Wednesday.
Lockheed performed the test of the hypersonic missile system, which uses a Northrop Grumman-made rocket motor, and demonstrated the technology maturation of the motor, missile canister and missile round pallet.
MRP is meant for use with the load handling system on military logistics vehicles and eliminates the need for a transporter erector launcher or TEL tailored for the OpFires program.
“This is a promising step toward a TEL on-demand capability for accurately firing medium-range missiles from highly agile, readily available logistics trucks that are already in both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps inventory,” said Lt. Col. Joshua Stults, OpFires program manager at DARPA.
“Our successful agile hardware development approach prioritizes full-scale flight testing that will inform further design maturation this year,” added Stults.
DARPA said it expects the program to conclude the critical design review phase in 2022.