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Raytheon & Northrop Grumman successfully complete the second flight of a hypersonic missile prototype

Raytheon and Northrop Grumman, working in partnership, have successfully flown a hypersonic missile prototype for the second time in eleven months.

For the latest test, the HAWC prototype was carried under the wing of an aircraft and flown to high altitude, where it was released. A solid rocket booster then accelerated the vehicle to supersonic speed and a scramjet ignited. An engine without moving parts, a scramjet uses its forward motion to compress the incoming air into a shockwave that burns with fuel, producing enough thrust to propel the missile to over five times the speed of sound.

The latest prototype had only minor modifications from the previous flight and met all of its objectives. The data recovered by telemetry will be used to improve the digital models using artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data, which will increase the efficiency and performance as the weapon concept comes closer to practical deployment.

As this is a military project, not many details about the prototype were released, such as its size, speed, design.etc. One shouldn’t even trust the illustrations of the missile, provided by Northrop Grumman. Each shows the missile with a rounded lifting body shape on its bottom side, likely to protect and guide it on its re-entry, but there is no guarantee the illustrations’ shape matches that of the real missile.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • GaryMike

    Am I incorrect that hyper-sonic weapons’ weakness is they’re inability to course-correct? That they have to have near-perfect point-to-point knowledge to fulfill their intended purposes.

    Jamming is a real thing, right?

    Fast, but no better than…?

  • GaryMike

    Long range, they’re defeatible; short range, they need sufficient sensors to deny a defender’s response time?

  • pawn

    Control surfaces are a drag.

  • pzatchok

    They use the very same control systems that Patriot missiles and similar systems use.
    Small rockets around the body to direct its course.
    There is no lifting body because by the time its at a slow enough speed for wings and or the lifting surfaces to actually work its well below the hypersonic speed it needs to be at to defeat the defenses of the enemy,
    Before it reaches hypersonic speed its only lift comes from its rocket engine.

    Its the very same systems that the Russian and Chinese anti aircraft and hypersonic missiles use.

  • Jeff Wright

    Most hypersonic test bodies are more warhead than airframe. I was hoping for an Energia Buran type Shuttle 2…perhaps SLS can evolve to that.

    With engines on the ET, the orbiter can have many lay-outs…one a waverider, another a Faget wing. Perhaps a super hammerhead shroud can go atop SuperHeavy….You want good sized test bodies to forward hypersonic research. Stratolaunch can help up to a point…but an HLLV that can give an orbital kick allows the most severe tests.

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