Raytheon’s new missile: Raytheon Beats Lockheed, Boeing for $1 Billion Hypersonic Cruise Missile

Raytheon was awarded the “task order” for the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile that calls for weapon system design, development and initial delivery expected to be completed by March 2027.

The HACM, which has been co-developed with the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will use air-breathing propulsion to reach five times the speed of sound. It will be the Air Force’s second hypersonic missile after Lockheed’s ARRW, which is a hypersonic weapon that’s boosted into the atmosphere and then glides to its target.

Air Force officials have indicated that the HACM might be used on both fighters and bombers, with one official saying a B-52 bomber potentially could carry as many as 20, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

At least eight hypersonic weapons are in development, the service said.

Russia said in February that it had test-fired a hypersonic missile, sending a message to the US and NATO allies just before its invasion of Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has asserted that hypersonic weapons will make up the core of Russia’s non-nuclear deterrence capability in the future. The US says Russia has deployed its Avangard Hypersonic Glide Vehicle and its Tsirkon hypersonic anti-ship and land-attack missile.

China is investing heavily in hypersonic weapons as well, putting one in orbit last year that flew 25,000 miles (40,000 kilometers) in more than 100 minutes of flight, according to the top US nuclear commander.

Russia and China are able to press ahead on new weapons without the oversight by lawmakers and the public that can slow testing and deployment under the Pentagon’s acquisition system.

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