Contract for the development of a non-strategic hypersonic winged HCSW missile for the US Air Force
As reported by the US edition of DefenseNews, the US Air Force issued on 18 April 2018 to Lockheed Martin a $ 928 million contract to develop a hypersonic non-nuclear cruise missile based on Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW, pronounced "Hacksaw" - "Nozhovka") . The contract was issued according to the "indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity" scheme (that is, for an indefinite period of development and the number of prototypes supplied), providing for "design, development, manufacturing, integration, testing, logistics planning and integration of all elements into aircraft hypersonic non-nuclear non-strategic air-based weapons, "the US Air Force said. The contract amount reflects the overall framework value and will be realized through annual financing as the developer claims volumes.
"This step is one of two directions for creating prototypes of hypersonic weapons implemented by the Air Force to accelerate hypersonic research and development," the US Air Force spokesman Ann Stefanek said in a statement. "The Air Force is creating prototypes to explore opportunities for further development and as soon as possible to advance these technologies to implementation."
The second mentioned Anne Stefanek program in this area is Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW)
, also known under the Arrow cipher ("Arrow") and also carried out by Lockheed Martin (a division of special prospective secret works of Skunk Works). In the budget request for the 2019 fiscal year, the US Air Force requested $ 258 million to implement ARRW and HCSW programs.
In addition, the US Air Force is funding two more experimental hypersonic weapons programs
under the auspices of the US Department of Defense's Advanced Research and Development Agency (DARPA) - Tactical Boost Glide
(TBG, an experimental hypersonic cruise missile of the glider type, prototype testing with F- 15 is planned to start in 2022-2023, according to a number of sources, the aforementioned ARRW is one of the variants for the TBG project) and the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept
(HAWC, an aeroballistic missile launched from an F-15 fighter). It was reported that TBG and HAWS are created using ASM-135 ASAT as the first stage of the ASM-135 anti-satellite missile. The US Army (the ground-launched launch rocket ANW) and the US Navy also have their own programs to develop hypersonic weapons.
According to preliminary publications, the HCSW missile is intended for high-precision destruction of stationary or "moving" ground targets, should have a cruising speed of 5M (or more) and be equipped with a combined inertial-satellite guidance system.
The contract for the HSCW program was awarded to Lockheed Martin after the competition, in which there were two more participants - presumably, they were the corporation Orbital ATK and the consortium Raytheon and Boeing. The current CEO of Lockheed Martin, Marilyn Hewson, has repeatedly stated that the development of hypersonic technology is one of the company's priorities.
American observers associate a sharp increase in the development of hypersonic weapons in the US with the successes in this field, recently demonstrated by Russia and China.