Hypersonic Rocket Motor Tested by the U.S. Navy, Works as Advertised

The new Holy Grail of weapons systems seems to be the hypersonic rockets and missiles. Capable of flying at speeds that can range between Mach 5 and Mach 10 (3,836 mph/6,173 kph to something double those values), these contraptions could prove essential for the world’s future wars.
Hypersonic missile rendering 1 photo
Photo: Northrop Grumman
Knowing that, everybody seems to be working on such technology. In the U.S., both the Navy and the Army are chasing their own weapon through separate programs called Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW), respectively.

Earlier this week, in Promontory, Utah, the Navy’s CPS program got a major kick forward. It was there where a live-fire test of the hypersonic rocket motor took place and ended after a full trial duration with “performance parameters and objectives” met within anticipated ranges.

Now, this being a secret project and all, we have no idea what exactly that means. What we know is that the motor that was tested, developed by defense contractor Northrop Grumman (another big name of the industry, Lockheed Martin, is involved in the program as the weapon systems integrator), will be part of CPS’s first stage.

In its turn, CPS is envisioned as a hypersonic boost-glide missile, meaning it will get its initial punch from the motor, then an extra kick from scramjets. The Navy advertises the CPS as a system capable of achieving high survivability against enemy defenses.

The American military is betting heavily on its future capability of defeating “high-value targets hundreds or even thousands of miles away” in a matter of minutes and has made no secret of hypersonic weapons being a top priority for the future.

As far as the Navy is concerned, the hypersonic weapon it is currently working on will probably be deployed, among other platforms, on Virginia-class submarines as soon as 2028.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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