HAWC - U.S. Military Next-Generation Capability
April 16, 2022
April 5, 2022 - The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and its U.S. Air Force partner recently completed a second free flight test of the Lockheed Martin version of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC).
The vehicle, after release from a carrier aircraft, was boosted to its Aerojet Rocketdyne scramjet engine ignition envelope. From there, it quickly accelerated to and maintained cruise faster than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) for an extended period of time. The vehicle reached altitudes greater than 65,000 feet and flew for more than 300 nautical miles.
Air-breathing vehicles utilize air captured from the atmosphere to achieve sustained propulsion. The speed and maneuverability of such hypersonic cruise missiles allow both evasion of defenses and quick strikes. Their kinetic energy can effectively destroy targets even without high explosives.
The HAWC is a next-generation capability for U.S. military.