WASHINGTON – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is seeking $ 60 million in its 2023 budget for the next phase of the hypersonic breathable air weapons concept in an effort to refine its Scramjet-powered hypersonic weapons program.
The new launch program, called MoHAWC, is the successor to the HAWC, developed jointly with the Air Force with the help of Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as general contractors. Both companies conducted successful test flights on their vehicles, with of Raytheon flew in september and Lockheed in March. HAWC vehicles are powered by jet engines designed to offer better, more efficient operation at hypersonic speeds. Northrop Grumman built the propulsion system for the Raytheon HAWC vehicle, and Aerojet provided Lockheed.
Once the HAWC flight test objectives have been completed, DARPA will build on this work through MoHAWC. The budget documents show that the agency wants to further develop the jet jet propulsion system of the vehicle, upgrade the integration algorithms, reduce the size of the navigation components and improve its production approach.
HAWC and its successor are part of the Defense Ministry’s broader hypersonic weapons portfolio, which has been given higher priority in light of threats from Russia and China. IN the government is expected to spend $ 15 billion on technology between 2015 and 2024 Pentagon officials in February met with the defense industry to highlight the urgency of developing hypersonic technology in a faster time and to better understand the obstacles to the use of these weapons.
$ 60 million will support the development of this technology and fund the initial purchase of components with long-term potential for four flight test systems. DARPA also expects to complete its risk reduction efforts in subsystem technologies and to begin assembling, integrating and ground-based tests of cruisers.
Asked if DARPA plans to buy more HAWC vehicles from Lockheed and Raytheon, spokesman Randy Atkins told C4ISRNET in an email on April 27 that any discussion on contracting strategies is a “preliminary decision.” DARPA is still gathering lessons from HAWC’s flight tests to inform MoHAWC’s next steps, he added.
Elsewhere, in DARPA’s request to develop hypersonic technology, the agency is seeking $ 30 million for another joint Air Force program called Tactical Boost Glide. The program is developing tactical range and drag systems, and DARPA plans to conduct its third flight test in fiscal 2023.
The agency is also seeking $ 18 million for its Glide Breaker program, which is developing capabilities to counter “emerging hypersonic threats.” Phase 1 of the Glide Breaker demonstrates a Position Deflection and Control System (DACS) designed to allow a killing vehicle to intercept a hypersonic weapon during its drag phase.
announced DARPA April 15 that it has moved to the second phase of the Glide Breaker, which will focus on “quantifying the effects of the interaction of aerodynamic jets from DACS loops and hypersonic airflows around a vehicle to kill interceptors”.
“Phases 1 and 2 together fill the technological gaps needed by the United States to develop robust protection against hypersonic threats,” said Major Nathan Grainer, DARPA’s Glide Breaker program manager.
The 2023 fiscal plans for Glide Breaker include testing wind components and pre-design for the flight test article.
Courtney Alban is a C4ISRNET reporter for space and new technologies. Previously, it covered the US Air Force and the US Space Force.