Hypersonic testing 'vital' as US pushes for 2023 missile capability
On 26 October USN Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) and the Army Hypersonic Project Office (AHPO) conducted a second successful High Operational Tempo for Hypersonics flight launch. This was carried out by Sandia National Laboratories from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The test data will further development of the USN's Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the army Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) programmes. The navy stated that CPS and AHPO are both on track to support the first fielding of a hypersonic capability by the army in FY2023.
A sounding rocket was launched containing hypersonic experiments from partners including CPS, the Missile Defense Agency, AHPO, the Joint Hypersonic Transition Office, SNL, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Mitre, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and several defence contractors.
A second sounding rocket launch was due to follow. The payloads are intended to provide data on the performance of materials and systems in a realistic hypersonic environment.
The USN described the test as a 'vital step in the development of a Navy-designed common hypersonic missile'. Its Common Hypersonic Glide Body and booster will be used for both CPS and AGPO applications.
One potential launch platform for the navy's CPS could be the Zumwalt-class destroyer, with a contract awarded earlier this year to Bath Iron Works to integrate vertical launch modules.
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