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HAWC missile completes flight trials as focus turns to maturing hypersonic technology

31st January 2023 - 14:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


A rendering of a HAWC hypersonic missile concept. (Image: DARPA)

Completion of HAWC flight testing means the US has two viable hypersonic missile designs that can be matured into future programmes of record.

The joint DARPA/USAF Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) has completed its final planned flight test. The Lockheed Martin version of the HAWC scramjet-powered missile has provided critical data to inform Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) hypersonic technology maturation work.

The most recent flight demonstrated 'improved capabilities and performance' according to DARPA. This means the US now has two feasible hypersonic airbreathing missile designs (from Lockheed Martin and Raytheon) to use as the basis for future weapon systems.

Andrew Knoedler, HAWC programme manager, said: 'HAWC [has] brought a wealth of data and progress to the airbreathing 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.'

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Although the HAWC programme has executed its final phase, data analysis continues and DARPA plans to advance maturation in the More Opportunities with HAWC (MOHAWC) effort by building and flying more vehicles that build upon HAWC’s advances. These missiles will expand the operating envelope of the scramjet and provide technology on-ramps for future programmes of record.

The Shephard News Team


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