The Lockheed Martin missile, powered by an Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet, reached speeds greater than Mach 5, climbed higher than 60,000 feet, and travelled farther than 300 nautical miles in the latest flight to demonstrate improved capabilities and performance.
HAWC program air force deputy Walter Price said this provides critical data to inform Air Force Research Laboratory’s hypersonic technology maturation efforts.
“This month’s flight added an exclamation point to the most successful hypersonic air-breathing flight test program in US history,” he said.
“The things we’ve learned from HAWC will certainly enhance future US Air Force capabilities.”
There are now two feasible hypersonic air-breathing missile designs in the US with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon both offering options to improve and mature in the future.
HAWC program manager Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler said there’s still data to analyse and more opportunities to mature the technology despite the HAWC program executing its final phase.
“The HAWC program created a generation of new hypersonic engineers and scientists,” he said.
“HAWC also brought a wealth of data and progress to the air-breathing hypersonic community.
“The industry teams attacked the challenge of scramjet-powered vehicles in earnest, and we had the grit and luck to make it work.
“We had our share of difficulties. Through a pandemic, a strained supply chain, and atmospheric rivers, our industry partners forged ahead, mitigating the risks where they could and accepting others. They delivered on their promises, proving the feasibility of the concept.”
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