Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman personnel are touting the successful completion of the first flight test of a scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).
Authorities indicated the firm’s are slated to produce a prototype to the Department of Defense for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force.
“This is a history-making moment, and this success paves the way for an affordable, long-range hypersonic system in the near term to strengthen national security,” Colin Whelan, vice president of Advanced Technology at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said. “This test proves we can deliver the first operational hypersonic scramjet, providing a significant increase in warfighting capabilities.”
HAWC was carried under the wing of an aircraft during the test before it was released, officials noted, adding seconds later, a solid rocket motor boosted HAWC to supersonic speeds — with a scramjet engine igniting and accelerating the missile, resulting in hypersonic flight.
“We have reached a milestone in delivering a game-changing capability to the warfighter,” Dan Olson, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems Division for Northrop Grumman, said. “Decades of learning advanced manufacturing techniques and industry partnerships helped us define what is now possible.”
Officials said hypersonic weapons such as HAWC possess the ability to reach targets quicker than traditional missiles, allowing potential evasion of defense systems.