The US military secretive R&D wing has announced a successful flight test for a hypersonic missile system developed by Raytheon. According to the Defense, Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the free-flight launch for the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) was conducted successfully last week and met all primary test objectives.
As stated by Andrew Knoedler, the Head of the HAWC programme in DARPA Tactical Technology Office, the test “was a successful demonstration of the capabilities that will make hypersonic cruise missiles a highly effective tool for our warfighters”. The agency said the HAWC system can“strike targets much more quickly than subsonic missiles due to its speed and manoeuvrability, and can inflict significant damage through kinetic energy alone, even without high explosives.
Though much about HAWC’s development is classified and remains shrouded in secrecy, a DARPA source told Air Force Magazine in December that the Lockheed test did not go well. Media reports last year also suggested that a HAWC prototype was destroyed after falling from a B-52 bomber carrying it during a test flight. DARPA’s Monday press release referred only to Raytheon’s variant for the HAWC system, leaving it unclear where Lockheed’s design made any progress since last winter.
It is noted that the US has boosted the development of hypersonic tech after Moscow unveiled a whole range of advanced weaponry in 2018. Russia has since become the first nation in the world to have deployed a hypersonic glide vehicle into service. The Avangard can be carried by RS-18A and prospective RS-28 Sarmat ICBMs to deliver both nuclear and conventional payloads. Moreover, now Moscow says it is fully aware that other nations are hastily designing their own hypersonic weapons and is absolutely ready to repel any kind of attack both now and in the future.