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US hails HAWC test but still plays catch-up on hypersonics

8th April 2022 - 11:45 GMT | by Ben Vogel in London

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Artist's impression of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept missile. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

The second successful test flight of the HAWC missile fails to obscure patchy progress overall in US hypersonic programmes.

A DARPA-led team including the Air Force Research Lab, Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne has conducted the second successful flight test of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) missile.

After release from a carrier aircraft, HAWC was boosted to its Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet engine ignition envelope.

It flew at speeds beyond Mach 5 and reached an altitude of above 65,000ft during the free-flight test in March, Lockheed Martin announced on 5 April.

According to DARPA, the missile flew for more than 300nmi.

In the first HAWC programme test flight, conducted in September 2021, a different vehicle configuration (involving

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