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USAF to Blow $1 Billion on Raytheon Scramjet-Powered Hypersonic Missiles

At a time when the actions of a single rogue nation are threatening to put an end to decades of relative world peace, every bit of news concerning weapons and their development can be seen as a reaction to the events currently unfolding in Europe. But that’s not always the case, and some of them have been pursued for a long time.
Raytheon Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile rendering 6 photos
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For several years now America and its rivals have been chasing the development of potentially unstoppable hypersonic missiles. Russia says it already succeeded, and it from time to time says it's launching Kinzhals in Ukraine. On the opposite side, soon enough America will reply in kind, and then some, thanks to the many programs it currently runs with this goal in mind.

The latest to enter a new phase is the program for a Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missiles (HACM). That’s an idea born back in 2020 and handed over to the great minds from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon to see what comes out of it.

This week, the U.S. Air Force (USAF) said it eventually awarded the contract for the scramjet-powered hypersonic weapon to Raytheon. The value of the contract is of just shy of one billion dollars ($985,348,124) and will have the company develop and demonstrate HACM prototypes, but also deliver operationally ready missiles.

Raytheon will work on the project for this first-of-its-kind weapon together with Northrop Grumman, but also with some Australian partners.

As said, the HACM is a piece of hardware powered by an air-breathing engine capable of pushing the missiles to speeds of over Mach 5 (3,836 mph/6,173 kph). That’s blistering fast, fast enough to potentially allow the missiles to evade defense systems.

The development of the HACM should go quite rapidly, as the USAF plans to have them operational by the start of fiscal year 2027. Specific details about the project are not known at this time.

Editor's note: Gallery shows various renderings of Raytheon hypersonic weapons.

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