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They successfully complete the flight test of a hypersonic weapon in the US.

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According to the developers, this is the next generation of tactical missile systems.

The American company Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, has communicated which successfully completed the second flight test of a hypersonic weapon, developed for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The hypersonic cruise missile HAWC, equipped with a ‘scramjet’ engine (supersonic combustion ramjet), is jointly developed by Raytheon and the defense corporation Northrop Grumman. “The success of our second HAWC flight test is an important milestone for our nation as we move forward with hypersonic systems“, highlighted the president of the Raytheon Missiles & Defense Advanced Technology department, Colin Whelan.

During the flight test, the HAWC was released from an aircraft and exceededfive times the speed of the sound. “The second flight test is a big step in making scramjet technology mission-ready,” said Northrop Grumman Vice President of Weapons Systems Dan Olson. “Nearly 20 years of scramjet propulsion research and development have paid off in significantly advancing the weapons capabilities of our nation,” he added.

Missiles that “breathe air”

The engines ‘scramjet’ they use the high speed of the missile to compress the incoming air before combustion, thus allowing sustained flight at speeds hypersonic, Mach 5 or more. Since the system uses air for combustion, you don’t have to carry the additional weight of an oxidizer on board. These key attributes allow it to be a long-range and tactical-sized hypersonic weapon.

Both companies have been working together since 2019 to develop, produce and integrate the ‘scramjet’ engines by Northrop Grumman on Raytheon’s hypersonic weapons. Their combined efforts enable both companies to produce hypersonic weapons that are “air-breathing, the next generation of tactical missile systems“, says the statement.

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