Military Embedded Systems

Second hypersonic weapon flight test completed by Raytheon, Northrop Grumman


July 20, 2022

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

An artist's rendering of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept. (Image courtesy of Raytheon)

TUCSON, Arizona. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have completed a second flight test of the scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force, Raytheon Missiles & Defense said in a statement.

The purpose of the flight test was to apply the data and lessons learned from the first flight test to further mature the weapon concept, the company said.

During the flight test, an aircraft released the HAWC, which accelerated to hypersonic speeds and then flew a trajectory designed to stress the weapon concept and explore its limits.

A key piece of technology in this effort is its scramjet engines, which use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air in order to sustain flight speeds of Mach 5 or greater. Because it uses air for combustion, it does not have to carry the extra weight of an onboard oxidizer, Raytheon said in the statement.

"By traveling at these speeds, hypersonic weapons like HAWC can reach their targets more quickly than traditional missiles, allowing them to potentially evade defense systems," the statement added.

Raytheon and Northrop have been working on the project since 2019. The missile combines Northrop's scramjet engines with Raytheon's air-breathing hypersonic weapons.

Featured Companies

Northrop Grumman

2980 Fairview Park Drive
Falls Church, VA 22042