Raytheon and Northrop advance in competition to develop hypersonic weapon interceptors

Washington — Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman, respectively Continue to develop hypersonic weapon interceptors According to the announcement of the Pentagon contract on June 24, in a competition led by the Missile Defense Agency.

Each company has been awarded a fixed price change for a previously awarded contract for rapid prototyping. According to the contract announcement, each change is worth about $ 41.5 million, and the total contract amount to date is about $ 61 million each.

In November 2021, MDA chose two companies with Lockheed Martin. Glide Phase Interceptor (GPI) For regional hypersonic missile defense. Through other transactional contracts, companies “Accelerated concept design “phase.

The Interceptors are intended to counter hypersonic weapons during the glide phase of flight.It is difficult to predict the missile’s trajectory because the missile can move and maneuver at more than five times the speed of sound.

The interceptor is designed to fit the US Navy’s current Aegis ballistic missile defense destroyer. Launched from a standard vertical launch system, it integrates with a modified Baseline 9 Aegis weapons system that detects, tracks, controls, and attacks hypersonic threats.

Lockheed has not won a contract to participate in the next phase of the GPI competition, but is competing with Raytheon. Develop a hypersonic missile powered by a scramjet As part of the Supersonic Air Breathing Weapons Concept (HAWC) program run by the Air Force and DARPA.

And Lockheed Navy’s traditional swift strike With aggressive hypersonic missiles Army long-range supersonic weapon. Northrop Grumman Motors for both weapons.

Lockheed is also developing an Air Force hypersonic aircraft AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon.

The MDA told Defense News in an email that it has the ability to later bring Lockheed back to the GPI effort “as needed.”

Northrop has begun Promotion of hypersonic missile capability development 2019 when the Pentagon prioritized hypersonic functions.That same year, Lockheed Martin Construction started on a new facility in Alabama It is intended for the development, testing and manufacture of hypersonic weapons.

No company responded immediately to the request for comment.

The MDA pressed the pause button About the efforts of hypersonic weapon interceptors to bring hypersonic weapons online in the summer of 2020. However, the agency has taken steps to move forward this year, receiving feedback from the industry and confirming that the Glide Phase Interceptor can be implemented. Deputy Admiral John Hill, director of MDA, told Defense News last year.

About a year ago, Hill chose to renew his approach to hypersonic weapons and focus on extracting hypersonic weapons during the glide phase of their most vulnerable flight. did.

The agency first focuses on providing capabilities to the Marines. “If this succeeds, we can move it to a land-based battery to protect others from that kind of hypersonic threat,” Hill said.

Authorities have not yet detailed the schedule for subsequent stages of the program, but according to the 2023 Pentagon Budget Justification Document, authorities will reach a preliminary design review of weapons and missile systems in the fourth quarter of 2015. It is planned.

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering the Defense News land warfare. She has also worked in Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in Journalism from Boston University and a Master of Science degree in Literature from Kenyon College.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2022/06/24/raytheon-northrop-advance-in-competition-to-develop-hypersonic-weapons-interceptor/ Raytheon and Northrop advance in competition to develop hypersonic weapon interceptors

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