The U.S. Air Force awarded a nearly $1 billion contract to Raytheon to develop a hypersonic cruise missile prototype that fighter aircraft can launch.
From Stars and Stripes:
The Air Force awarded a nearly $1 billion contract for development of a new hypersonic missile system that could be fielded within five years, the service said Thursday.
Raytheon will be tasked with developing prototypes for a hypersonic attack cruise missile, which is an air-launched weapon designed to be used against high-value targets, the Air Force said. It is being developed in tandem with Australia’s air force.
I don’t understand why this is an U.S. Air Force project when the U.S. Navy will also need to deploy these weapons.
The U.S. Air Force already has a hypersonic missile system in development, the Lockheed Martin AGM-183 ARRW.
Judging by the size of the AGM-183 missiles in relation to the B-52H, I don’t think fighter aircraft can deploy these missiles.
If a missile is traveling five times the speed of sound, does it even need an explosive warhead? A missile traveling at mach 5 with a payload of 1,000 pounds of depleted uranium would deliver an outrageous amount of kinetic force on target.
Explosives seem incompletely unnecessary at mach 5.