Lockheed Martin, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), and Aerojet Rocketdyne (AJRD) have successfully tested the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), reaching speeds in excess of Mach 5 at altitudes greater than 65,000 feet. The data collected from this test will help Lockheed Martin leverage their resources, talents, and lessons learned across the corporation to positively influence outcomes.
Anyone not familiar with the Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), it’s basically a scramjet powered air-launched hypersonic cruise missile project. In other words, a kinetic energy weapon, but without an explosive warhead. Since this is a classified project, no videos are available of the tests, although it has managed to achieve a speed greater than Mach 5 (over 3,700 miles per hour). While commercial hypersonic aircraft may be years away, we’d be satisfied with a ride in Boeing’s AH-64 Apache helicopter.
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Our work with DARPA and AFRL on the HAWC program demonstrates that air-breathing hypersonic systems are a cost-effective solution to address rapidly emerging threats in the global security arena. The success of this flight test is evidence that a strong partnership between government and industry is key to solving our nation’s most difficult challenges and enabling new capabilities to counter threats to U.S. and allied forces,” said John Clark, vice president and general manager Lockheed Martin Skunk Works.