The US military is looking at open-ended hypersonic weapons development.
There are already contracts for several air-launched hypersonic weapons, ground launched hypersonic weapons, submarine-launched hypersonic weapons and reusable hypersonic planes and drones.
Hypersonic weapons and vehicles can go faster than 5 times the speed of sound.
Russia and China have been able to deploy hypersonic missiles ahead of the United States despite decades of US research. Russia and China chose the simpler route of putting hypersonic weapons as warheads of rockets. The US had worked on hypersonic engines that had to work with turbines and ramjets.
Getting to hypersonic speed for airplanes required multiple engines to be combined to transition to and between different speeds.
The Department of Defense, United States Air Force (USAF), Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Armament Directorate, is currently conducting market research on hypersonic weapon rapid development, production, and sustainment. AFLCMC/EB is considering the viability of a multiple award Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract vehicle.
Qualified vendors must be skilled in design, qualification, and component/subsystem/system weapons testing. Qualified vendors must also be capable in all the following fields: hypersonic aerodynamics; aero-thermal protection systems; solid rocket motors; advanced hypersonic guidance, navigation, and control; component integration into an all-up round; mission planning; and platform integration.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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