The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the completion of a successful test of the Hypersonic Airbreathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), a scramjet missile manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
It was the last test carried out on the HAWC, as the program has accomplished all its objectives, DARPA announced in a press release.
“This month’s flight added an exclamation point to the most successful hypersonic airbreathing flight test program in US history,” Walter Price, an Air Force deputy for the HAWC program, is quoted as saying in the release.
During the test the missile reached the speed of Mach 5 at an altitude of over 60,000 feet (18,300 meters) and covered a distance of more than 300 miles (483 kilometers), DARPA explained.
According to Lockheed Martin, the missile was launched by the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber. The missile’s first rocket stage propelled it to the speed where its scramjet engine, manufactured by Aerojet Rocketdyne, could ignite.
It was the second test for Lockheed Martin’s variant of the HAWC. A competing design, manufactured by Northrop and Raytheon, conducted its second flight test in July 2022.
After analyzing the data collected during HAWC testing, DARPA plans to launch another program, More Opportunities with HAWC (MOHAWC), that will seek to mature the technology.
Three new hypersonic missiles are going to be built under the new project, expanding the operational envelope of hypersonic weapons.