Raytheon Gets Follow-up $63 Million Hypersonic Weapons Contract

DARPA awarded Raytheon a $63 million contract to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program. A rocket will accelerate the missile to over 5 times the speed of sound and then the hypersonic warhead will separate and glide to its target.

China and Russia are deploying their own hypersonic boost and glide weapons.

The DF-ZF is a Chinese experimental hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV), previously known by the Pentagon as WU-14. The DF-ZF has been flight tested seven times from 2014-2017. The system is expected to be operational by 2020. The DF-ZF will reach speed between Mach 5 (3,836 mph) and Mach 10 (7,680 mph).

The DF-ZF could be put on top of DF-21 medium-range missiles or the DF-31 intercontinental ballistic missiles. The DZ-ZF could be used on short range anti-ship missiles to increase the chances of hitting moving targets like US aircraft carriers.

Russia has the Avangard hypersonic glide missile. On March 1, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the testing is done and that the missile has entered serial production. The Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Yury Borisov said the Avangard missile reached 27 times the speed of sound.

SOURCES- Raytheon, Wikipedia

Written By Brian Wang

16 thoughts on “Raytheon Gets Follow-up $63 Million Hypersonic Weapons Contract”

  1. Hmmm…launched plenty of Falcon 9s so far and no retaliatory response from Russia or China. Pretty sure they can figure out the difference between an ICBM launch and a Falcon 9/other rocket launch. At that, my plan would call for launching from non-ICBM bases, so the radar tracks would originate from non-ICBM sites.

  2. Falcon 9’s don’t exactly carry a beacon that says, “Please ignore the fact that my radar cross section looks a hell of a lot like a Minuteman-III, I promise I am not an ICBM. Spaciba, da svidanya!”

  3. The lower you get and the longer into your flight envelope you are, you lose that velocity. The reason they’re saying >M5 is because that’s the generally recognized point for most leading surfaces where the shock and the boundary layer interact. In practicality most of these vehicle designs will only be at high 10’s mach for a few minutes at best.

  4. The USAF should buy/lease a couple dozen Falcon 9s. Base a dozen or so on each coast and a few in Alaska. Launch a ramjet boost glider on top, as the first stage typically gets to Mach 10+ at MECO. The first stage returns, lands, gets reloaded and can launch again in 24hrs. Simple, easy.

  5. ICBM RV’s are already highly hypersonic. All this is is giving the RV some lift. The USAF tested lifting RV’s in the late 60’s.  This is a mediocre trick at best.

  6. The Russian is correct.  It is based on the Soyuz capsule with the experimental speed hole modification.

  7. I call bullshit. You can’t cruise that fast in-atmosphere for more than a couple of minutes, it’s why spaceships need ablative reentry shielding.

  8. You forgot the Russian Avangard hypersonic glider and its secretive technology allowing it to cruise here and now at Mach 20-27… whereas other nations consider max speed of Mach ~6 for similar potential future weapons.

  9. SSTO gets you there fast and circle above, having air-breathing allows you to cruise down and essentially loiter then attack before speeding away at Mach 5. Never said you need to be able to get to orbit twice. Once is enough.

  10. Glide weapons need to be accelerated close to 20 mach.  So when they say over 5 mach they actually mean 20 times the speed of sound.  As far as Russian claims well we all know not to trust those.

  11. You do know that part of the SABRE project is also designed around a hyoersonics passenger plane. So you are advocating what then? Bigger and bigger rockets? SABRE has the best chance of creating a dual engine tat can go STO and also functions as a MACH 5 atmospheric engine. DARPA got interested enough to give them a test facility and money. The pre-cooler is the only piece of tech that is truly important to what they are trying to accomplish and they have done a proof of concept test on a prototype that was a huge success. Sure it will take time to fully develop, but it has the most potential. It is game-changing aeronautics tech.

  12. Uh, if you want vaporware then the Sabre is the “best investment”. I will take the non-moonshot idea. Sabre is not just unproven, it seems un-LIKELY to me. No idea why you need SSTO AND loitering capability, you’re not going to reach orbit twice. You’re not going to bomb a target with something that just came out of orbit, after reaching orbit with all of it’s mass, as it would be bigger than a jumbo jet no matter how optimized. No mention of heat shielding for this jumbo jet. Just do a little thought experiment and imagine a rocket engine with oversized turbopumps that are diluting the LOX stream with atmospheric gasses, slowing the engine down to save a little bit of LOX. All of this, mind you, is only for the short duration of time that the engine is operating in the lower-atmosphere, above 100,000 feet it’s just a heavier expensive rocket engine.

  13. The only real hypersonics program that matters at the moment is the REL SABRE. Everything else is just trying to make a better solid rocket w/ scram or ram two stage system or a rocket propelled boast glider. If you want a single stage hypersonic weapons system that can loiter, the SABRE is the best investment.

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