Here’s the latest leap our premier military research agency has taken to move forward in hypersonic technology, propelling the United States to the forefront of the arms race.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has recently awarded Raytheon an $81 million risk reduction contract for the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program. Under this contract, Raytheon is tasked with building and flying additional HAWC flight vehicles. This significant milestone will further advance the development of air-breathing hypersonic weapons, providing critical capabilities for U.S. warfighters.

In a press release statement, Colin Whelan, the president of Advanced Technology for Raytheon, explained that the team had applied the lessons learned from previous successful HAWC flight tests to ensure that the system is the most sophisticated of its kind. He also emphasized the importance of continuing the program to expand knowledge of hypersonic flight and deliver the critical capability that warfighters need. In essence, Whelan is highlighting the significance of the HAWC program and the potential benefits it can bring to the U.S. military’s hypersonic weapons development efforts.

Advancing Hypersonic Flight Capabilities

The HAWC program has been making steady progress, leveraging data and lessons learned from earlier stages to mature the weapon concept design. The primary objective is to integrate manufacturing enhancements into the current HAWC design and perform flight tests to broaden its operating range while verifying system performance models. Moreover, the airframe and engine designs are closely aligned with the U.S. Air Force’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), that expected to directly benefit from these advancements.