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Lockheed Martin awarded $756 million for long-range hypersonic weapon

20th May 2024 - 10:20 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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An artist’s notional rendering of the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin delivered equipment for the first Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LTHW) battery, referred to as Dark Eagle, to US soldiers in 2021. The system has been designed to deliver additional capability for the nation’s ground-based hypersonic weapon system.

Lockheed Martin will provide additional LRHW battery equipment, systems and software engineering support, and logistics solutions to the US Army under a US$756 million contract.

The LRHW weapon system has been designed to launch the common hypersonic All Up Round (AUR) – provided by the US Navy-managed Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) programme – and will include the army canister, a battery operations centre and transporter erector launchers.

Fiscal 2023 missile procurement, army funds in the amount of $275.3 million were obligated at the time of the award.

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In September 2019, the US Army awarded contracts for system supply related to the development of a land-based hypersonic weapon capability. Dynetics Technical Solutions (DTS) was awarded $351.6 million to produce Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) prototypes, while Lockheed Martin was awarded $347 million to lead the LRHW systems integration project.

The 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, was designated to operate the first battery of eight LRHW missiles. The battalion, also referred to as a Strategic Long-Range Fires battalion, is part of the Army’s 1st Multi Domain Task Force (MDTF), a unit in the Indo Pacific-oriented I Corps stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

According to a January 2023 Congressional Budget Office study, US Hypersonic Weapons and Alternatives, purchasing 300 Intermediate-Range Hypersonic Boost Glide Missiles (similar to the LRHW) was estimated to cost $41 million per missile in 2023 dollars.

A January 2023 Center for Strategic and International Studies report, The First Battle of the Next War: Wargaming a Chinese Invasion of Taiwan, noted when discussing hypersonic weapons “their high costs limits inventories, so they lack the volume needed to counter the immense numbers of Chinese air and naval platforms”.

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