Raytheon Missiles & Defense, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, have been selected to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile for the US Air Force.
Artist’s impression of a Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, courtesy Raytheon Missiles & Defense.
HACM is a first-of-its-kind weapon developed in conjunction with the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), a US/Australia project arrangement.
Under this contract, the Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman team will deliver operationally ready missiles to the USAF.
President of Raytheon Missiles & Defense Wes Kremer said Raytheon was at the forefront of hypersonic weapon and air-breathing technology development.
“With advanced threats emerging around the globe, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile will provide our warfighters a much-needed capability,” Mr Kremer said.
The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile is an air-breathing scramjet-powered munition.
Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion, which enables sustained flight at hypersonic speeds – Mach 5 or greater.
By traveling at these speeds, hypersonic weapons, like HACM, are able to reach their targets more quickly than similar traditional missiles, allowing them to potentially evade defensive systems.
Corporate vice president and president Northrop Grumman Defense Systems Mary Petryszyn said the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile would create a new class of strategically important weapons for the US military.
“Our scramjet propulsion technology is ushering in a new era for faster, more survivable and highly capable weapons,” she said.
Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have been working together since 2019 to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engines onto Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons.
Their combined efforts enable both companies to produce air-breathing hypersonic weapons, the next generation of tactical missile systems.