Hypersonic missile contract awarded to Raytheon/Northrop Grumman teamNews
September 23, 2022
ARLINGTON, Va. The U.S. Air Force has chosen Raytheon Missiles & Defense, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, to develop the hypersonic attack cruise missile (HACM) for the Air Force, a first-of-its-kind weapon developed in conjunction with the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), a U.S. and Australia project arrangement.
HACM, according to Air Force information, is an air-launched, scramjet-powered hypersonic weapon designed to hold high-value targets at risk in contested environments from standoff distances. Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion, which enables sustained flight at hypersonic speeds of Mach 5 (approximately 3,705 MPH) or greater. By traveling at such high speed, hypersonic weapons like HACM can potentially evade defensive systems and reach their targets more quickly than similar traditional missiles.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., says that the HACM is intended to give commanders the tactical flexibility to use fighters to hold high-value, time-sensitive targets at risk while maintaining bombers for other strategic targets.
The HACM program will now operationalize the Raytheon SCIFiRE prototype design for fighter aircraft integration and deliver two leave-behind assets with operational utility; the Air Force plans to deliver a HACM capability with operational utility by fiscal year 2027.