HAWC seeks to develop and demonstrate technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile
DARPA and the U.S. Air Force (USAF) have announced the successful completion of captive carry tests of two variants of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), ready for first free-flight testing later this year.
Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have each designed hypersonic missiles to achieve and sustain efficient hypersonic flight.
“Completing the captive carry series of tests demonstrates both HAWC designs are ready for free flight,” said Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler, HAWC program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office.
“These tests provide us a large measure of confidence – already well informed by years of simulation and wind tunnel work – that gives us faith the unique design path we embarked on will provide unmatched capability to U.S. forces.”
The Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept program is a joint DARPA/U.S. Air Force (USAF) endeavor that “seeks to develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile,” according to DARPA.
The upcoming flight tests will focus on hydrocarbon scramjet-powered propulsion and thermal management techniques to enable prolonged hypersonic cruise, in addition to affordable system designs and manufacturing approaches.