Raytheon has won a $63.3 million DARPA contract to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program.
The joint DARPA and U.S. Air Force effort includes a critical design review, a key step in fielding the technology.
An artist’s rendering illustrates what a hypersonic missile could look like as it travels along the edge of Earth's atmosphere. Raytheon is developing hypersonic weapons under several U.S. Department of Defense contracts.
For a tactical-range boost glide weapon to achieve hypersonic speeds – velocities greater than Mach 5 – "a rocket accelerates its payload to high speeds. The payload then separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination," according to the DARPA website.
"This latest contract adds to Raytheon's growing number of hypersonic weapons programs," said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. "Raytheon is working closely with our customers to quickly field these advanced weapon systems and provide our nation's military with the tools they need to stay ahead of the escalating threat."
Hypersonic weapons will enable the U.S. military to engage from longer ranges with shorter response times and enhanced effectiveness compared to current weapon systems.