Raytheon Technologies beat out Lockheed Martin and Boeing in the race for a $1 billion contract to design, develop and manufacture a new hypersonic weapon for the US Air Force, the Pentagon said Thursday, writes Bloomberg.
The “technical assignment” for Raytheon to create a hypersonic attack cruise missile (Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, HACM) includes, in particular, the initial delivery of the weapon system, which should be completed by March 2027.
Developed with the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the HACM will use a high-speed air engine that travels five times the speed of sound. It will also be the second hypersonic missile of the US Department of Defense after Lockheed’s ARRW. The latter is a hypersonic weapon that is first launched into the atmosphere and then flies to its target.
US Air Force officials noted that HACM can be used on both fighters and bombers. According to a report by the US Congressional Research Service, a B-52 bomber can potentially carry up to 20 such missiles. It is also known that at least eight hypersonic missiles are already under development.