The US most advanced hypersonic missile, which leading American defense contractor Raytheon is developing, will enter preliminary trials no sooner than the end of 2020, a source in Raytheon told TASS at the 53rd Paris Air Show on Thursday.
“The development work has entered the active phase. By now, the missile’s concept has been created, its mockup is being assembled and its flight characteristics are being determined. At the same time, problems related to the engine’s development exist. Their solution is delaying the commencement of the missile’s trials at least until the end of next year,” the source said, adding that the developers had been assigned the task of achieving the missile’s speed of no less than Mach 5.
“At this moment, it is difficult to speak about any application of this missile as its development is at the initial stage while the Pentagon is just formulating its requirements for hypersonic weapons. However, we consider the new missile primarily as an air-launched weapon to strike ground and naval targets. Raytheon will also study the expediency of its integration into land-based tactical missile systems and combat ships,” the developer’s representative said.
The concept of a hypersonic missile being developed by Raytheon was unveiled at the Le Bourget air show. The advanced missile is being developed under the HAWC (Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept) program initiated by the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
The US Northrop Grumman is also involved in the missile’s development.