US hypersonic missile reached Mach 5 and 300 mi less than 5 min

WASHINGTON — In March, Lockheed Martin and DARPA conducted a successful test of Lockheed Martin’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile [HACM] powered by a scramjet, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing a press release from Lockheed Martin and DARPA.

US hypersonic missile reached Mach 5 and 300 mi less than 5 min
Photo credit: SandBoxx

Although the information has not been officially released, experts say that during the HACM test it reached a speed just above Mach 5 at an altitude of 65,000 feet and a distance of 300 miles. At these parameters, this means that the missile has reached its final destination in less than 5 minutes.

According to US sources, the test was performed on the west coast of the United States. The missile was fired from aboard the B-52 Stratofortress bomber. The missile propulsion process was two-step – a rocket booster provided conventional acceleration, and a Lockheed Martin scramjet provided maximum speed to the final destination.

US hypersonic missile reached Mach 5 and 300 mi less than 5 min
Photo credit: Sandboxx

The development of hypersonic weapons is under the auspices of DARPA. This test is actually the second success for the agency. The first was held a few months ago with a missile HAWC built by Raytheon and also powered by a scramjet, but built by Northrop Grumman. Raytheon and Lockheed are fighting for the design, development, and production of next-generation hypersonic missiles.

US hypersonic missile reached Mach 5 and 300 mi less than 5 min
Photo credit: Sandboxx

The tests are important because they assess the behavior of the rocket after it is powered by jet engines to achieve hypersonic speeds. These missiles fly like planes in a stable trajectory. This allows them to be highly maneuverable, which helps to avoid being intercepted by an enemy anti-aircraft missile system. Experts from around the world say there is currently no technology that can intercept a hypersonic missile.

The use of scramjet is also key to American defense. Russia and China have hypersonic missiles and are leaders in the field where hypersonic missiles have boost-glide weapons, while the United States is focusing its efforts on using scramjet-powered hypersonic missiles. If the United States succeeds in developing sustainable scramjet-powered hypersonic weapons, it will be a breakthrough in this field, as this technology has been studied for decades, but there is still no successful scramjet-powered vehicle.

DARPA says this and previous tests offer ample opportunities for US defense, as well as a choice of two excellent weapons that will ultimately be evaluated and selected by the US military, following the principle of competitiveness and operational capability to dominate the battlefield.

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