Department of Defense successfully tests its hypersonic missile

The HAWC missile flew beyond 300 nautical miles at speeds in excess of Mach 5 and heights above 60,000 feet.

The Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced this week that they "successfully" launched their hypersonic missile, known as HAWC.

The missile, designed by Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne, "capped a program that accomplished all of its initial objectives," DARPA said in a press release. The hypersonic missile managed to fly beyond 300 nautical miles at speeds in excess of Mach 5 while above 60,000 feet. These data, said Air Force HAWC spokesman Walter Price, make the test flight a success:

This month’s flight added an exclamation point to the most successful hypersonic airbreathing flight test program in US history. The things we’ve learned from HAWC will certainly enhance future U.S. Air Force capabilities.

Long-haul program

In addition, the test, said HAWC program manager Andrew “Tippy” Knoedler, has extracted data that will be used to advance the hypersonic field and improve this type of missile technology:

The HAWC program created a generation of new hypersonic engineers and scientists. HAWC also brought a wealth of data and progress to the airbreathing hypersonic community. The industry teams attacked the challenge of scramjet-powered vehicles in earnest, and we had the grit and luck to make it work.

However, the expert also assured that this program, despite having successfully completed its final test, has not yet finished. It will continue to analyze the data extracted from this first flight to come up with possible solutions to any problems detected. Knoedler went on:

We had our share of difficulties. Through a pandemic, a strained supply chain, and atmospheric rivers, our industry partners forged ahead, mitigating the risks where they could and accepting others. They delivered on their promises, proving the feasibility of the concept.

This is not the first time the nation has tested a HAWC projectile. The news agency Europa Press recalls that, in 2021, the United States conducted its initial test with this model. However, Just the News reports that other nations such as China and Russia carried out the first successful launches of hypersonic missiles, taking the lead in the race to master this technology.