A team including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Aerojet Rocketdyne (NYSE: AJRD) has successfully flight tested a new system known as the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). The test, conducted off the coast of the U.S. using Lockheed Martin’s version of the HAWC, reached speeds in excess of Mach 5 and traveled 300 nautical miles at a flight ceiling greater than 65,000 feet. This is the second successful flight test in DARPA’s HAWC program. The first successful test was carried out by Raytheon in partnership with DARPA on September 27th, 2021. Read DARPA’s press releases on both tests below:
Second Successful Flight for DARPA Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC)
DARPA and its U.S. Air Force partner recently completed a free flight test of the Lockheed Martin version of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). The vehicle, after release from a carrier aircraft, was boosted to its Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet engine ignition envelope. From there, it quickly accelerated to and maintained cruise faster than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) for an extended period of time. The vehicle reached altitudes greater than 65,000 feet and flew for more than 300 nautical miles.
This is the second successful flight in DARPA’s HAWC program. Last September, a different vehicle configuration from another contractor team also reached hypersonic flight.
DARPA’S Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) Achieves Successful Flight
DARPA, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, completed a free flight test of its Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) last week. The missile, built by Raytheon Technologies, was released from an aircraft seconds before its Northrop Grumman scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet) engine kicked on. The engine compressed incoming air mixed with its hydrocarbon fuel and began igniting that fast-moving airflow mixture, propelling the cruiser at a speed greater than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound).
The HAWC vehicle operates best in oxygen-rich atmosphere, where speed and maneuverability make it difficult to detect in a timely way. It could strike targets much more quickly than subsonic missiles and has significant kinetic energy even without high explosives.
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