The US Air Force has finished testing hypersonic weapons, putting the US back in the game.

The Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) program was completed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force with a final flight test that utilized Lockheed Martin’s design. More Opportunities with HAWC (MoHAWC), a subsequent effort that aims to show a capability that is one step closer to an operational hypersonic weapon, is already being planned by DARPA using the data gained throughout HAWC’s development over the years.

On January 30, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) declared that it has partnered with the US Air Force to carry out the program’s last test for naturally aspirated hypersonic weapons (HAWC).

The scramjet Aerojet Rocketdyne engine, which continually compresses the air to move at supersonic speeds, was installed in the Lockheed Martin missile version for the test, and it successfully achieved all of the program’s initial objectives.

According to DARPA, “this test by HAWC will give crucial data for the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) efforts to improve hypersonic technology.”

In its final test, the Lockheed Martin-built HAWC hypersonic missile prototype flew at a speed of more than Mach 5, reaching an altitude of more than 18,000 m and traveling more than 555 km. The HAWC missile prototype’s capacity and performance have been finished, according to DARPA’s test results.

The HAWC program is approaching its conclusion, implementers are reviewing test results, and there is still space for technological advancement. The US had two hypersonic missile designs, one by Lockheed Martin and one by Raytheon, to develop and improve in the future once the HAWC program came to an end.

In the More Opportunities with HAWC (MOHAWC) program, which manufactures and tests more hypersonic vehicles based on advancements from HAWC, DARPA intends to refine the hypersonic weapon prototype. The technology from these prototypes will be used to improve the range of scramjet engines and develop new weapons platforms in the future.

In order to give US naval commanders more alternatives, HAWC later added the capability to attack warships, which was initially designed to kill ground targets. Along with the B-1 and B-52 bombers of the Air Force, it can be fitted on a variety of US Navy aircraft, including the F-35C, F/A-18E/F, and P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. US Army However, the US military has not given this any thought and it is only a concept.

Due to their high flight speed and ability to maneuver while in flight, hypersonic missiles are frequently referred to as “invisible” weapons since they may dodge the majority of missile defense systems currently in use. now on. While the US is currently working to build the program, both Russia and China assert to possess hypersonic weapons.

In 2021, former general John Hyten acknowledged that the US was behind Russia and China in the development of hypersonic weapons, predicting that it would take the US several years and significant resources to catch up.

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