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Raytheon and Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract for Hypersonic Weapon Advancements


Raytheon and Northrop Grumman Awarded Contract for Hypersonic Weapon Advancements

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Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC)
Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC)

Raytheon business, in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corporation, was awarded a follow-on contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to reduce risk for future air breathing hypersonic systems. Under the agreement, the Raytheon-led team will build and fly additional Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) flight vehicles. The team will continue to apply data and lessons learned from earlier stages of the program to mature the operationally relevant weapon concept design. Mainly, the effort focuses on incorporating manufacturing improvements into the existing HAWC design and flight tests to expand its operating envelope while validating system performance models.

The HAWC follow-on contract serves as an engine pathfinder program in our new production-ready Hypersonics Capability Center in Elkton, Maryland. Our factory of the future will seamlessly transition our validated propulsion system design into an operationally ready system to support further flight testing,” said Dan Olson, general manager and vice president, weapons systems, Northrop Grumman.

“We applied learnings from each successful HAWC flight test to ensure that it is the most sophisticated system of its kind. Continuing this important program will expand our knowledge of hypersonic flight and allow us to deliver the critical capability our warfighters need,” said Colin Whelan, president of Advanced Technology for Raytheon.

DARPA’S Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC)
DARPA’S Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC). (Photo by Raytheon)

The airframe and engine designs are closely aligned to the U.S. Air Force’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) which will directly benefit from the continued advancements. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have been partners since 2013 and signed a teaming agreement in 2019 to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engines onto Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons. In September 2022, the team was selected to develop HACM, a first-of-its-kind weapon. Additionally, the team has successfully completed multiple HAWC operational prototype system flight tests where digital engineering concepts, grounded in real-world flight data, have accurately predicted and increased system performance. Their combined efforts enable the production of air-breathing hypersonic weapons, the next generation of tactical missile systems.

RTX is the world’s largest aerospace and defense company. With more than 180,000 global employees, we push the limits of technology and science to redefine how we connect and protect our world. Through industry-leading businesses – Collins Aerospace, Pratt & Whitney, and Raytheon – we are advancing aviation, engineering integrated defense systems for operational success, and developing next-generation technology solutions and manufacturing to help global customers address their most critical challenges. The company, with 2022 sales of $67 billion, is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global aerospace and defense technology company. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with the capabilities they need to connect and protect the world, and push the boundaries of human exploration across the universe. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 95,000 employees define possible every day.

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