Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier Lockheed Martin Corp has released new details about a hypersonic weapons development in support of the focus in long-range precision strike missiles.
The U.S. Department of Defense expects that advanced missile and hypersonic vehicle technologies will enhance end-to-end strike force systems, increasing the potential for deterring future threats.
As noted by the company, as a result of investing in developing and demonstrating Mach 5 technology for over 30 years, Lockheed Martin is at the forefront of operationalizing hypersonic capabilities, systems and engineering.
According to the company, it is uniquely situated to be able to deliver hypersonic strike systems as well as the ability to detect, track and defeat hypersonic threats.
“We are developing technology that is incredibly fast and precise to defend the nation and our allies against hypersonic threats,” it said in a statement. “Hypersonic defensive capabilities require a multi-layered approach across all phases of flight detection, tracking and interception. Integration and interoperability are vital elements to connect each layer of this architecture.”
Currently, Lockheed Martin works on Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike (IRCPS) and Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) programs.
The ARRW program matures critical technologies to high speed flight and accelerates the weaponization of Hypersonic strike capabilities. The ARRW program brings corporation-wide experience in design, manufacturing, integration and test, and fielding of complex technologies to customers in the Department of Defense.
IRCPS is a hypersonic boost glide missile development and test program that enables longer range, shorter time of flight and high survivability against enemy defenses.
LRHW will leverage the common hypersonic glide body and introduce a new class of ultrafast and maneuverable long-range missiles with the ability to launch from ground mobile platforms.
The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin already successfully flight tested the second AGM-183A ARRW on the service’s B-52 Stratofortress out of Edwards Air Force Base, California, on Aug. 8, 2020.
This captive carry flight was conducted with tactical hardware and fully instrumented to collect thermal, mechanical and digital data from the flight vehicle. This is the first time a tactical ARRW missile has been assembled. Additional ground and flight testing will follow over the next two years.
“The team overcame significant challenges driven by the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve this significant milestone for the program,” said Dave Berganini, ARRW program director at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This captive carry mission is the pre-cursor for our first booster test flight planned for early 2020s.”