On Monday, the Safety Advanced Research Projects Association announced that it has successfully tested an air-breathing hypersonic prototype jointly developed by Northrob Crewman NOC and Radeon.
The prototype missile for the HAWC (or hypersonic air-breathing device) program was launched from an unidentified aircraft – often traveling below the speed of sound of a B-52H bomber – and propelled the rocket engine and propelled it into supersonic aircraft. Increases speed.
That speed enabled the missile to switch to a scramjet, a type of jet engine that only works when it is flying fast, overtaking its rocket boosters. A scramjet supersedes a compressor and instead uses the collision of air molecules to burn fuel, allowing continuous travel at peak speeds of one mile per second (Mach 5) or more. Fast
It is reported that Northrop’s HAWC prototype weighs half as much as previous hypersonic demonstrators using scramjet 3D printing techniques. In addition, previous reports from Northrop indicate that its design is a “weaver” capable of surviving its own supersonic shock waves thanks to the high technology used in the PA X-51. Boeing’s hypersonic demonstrator.
The DARPA report states that the key parameters tested are the success of the aircraft launch, ignition of the rocket, separation of the spent rocket booster and successful travel, but unsuccessful impact on the target. The HAWC project focused on solving the puzzle of practical air-breathing hypersonic propulsion rather than building a complete missile.
Why hypersonic breathing air is a big deal
In the current arms race for hypersonic weapons, China and Russia have already used several types of hypersonic missiles, and the United States has conducted many more tests. So the importance of testing a particular ‘air breathing hypersonic weapon’ may not be immediately apparent.
In fact, it represents a more advanced and militarily compelling capability than most existing hypersonic weapons.
That’s why: Almost all older weapons are called boost-glide weapons, leaving hypersonic glide vehicles (HGVs) that soar into space and jump right above the atmosphere. More efficient and shallower than ballistic missiles, making them harder to detect and intercept, HGVs are not really any faster than old-school ballistic missiles, and tend to lose a lot of momentum when jumping and sliding.
But on Monday the air-breathing HAWC prototype was tested to maintain travel at hypersonic speeds (Mac 5+) while in the atmosphere. This is also a great achievement because the friction of accelerated air molecules not only induces traction but also produces widespread burns that heat up vehicle surfaces in hazardous conditions. Thus the hypersonic air breathing technology will test not only the speed but also the heat tolerance of the missile.
Russia is the only country to have a hypersonic weapon deploying 3M22 Zircon anti-ship missiles.
Air-breathing hypersonic cruise missiles can provide faster speeds than high-powered aerial missiles with similar maximum speeds, but higher maneuverability, are used to navigate air defense radars and batteries.
Also, their low altitude indicates the best mask by Earth’s curve radar. With their small radar cross-section, hypersonic cruise missiles can only be observed over short distances and have little time to detect, monitor and pose a threat of penetration beyond one mile per second.
This can be very useful in attacking expensive weapons, heavy aircraft defense such as warships and strategic military bases, and lucrative short-term targets such as enemy ballistic missile trucks and (again) ships.
As the DARPA report noted, hypersonic weapons can reach high speeds without carrying explosive loads against specific targets, at least if the targets are accurate enough. It is to achieve reliable direct success. The option to start without a battleship can increase the range significantly.
Lockheed Vs. Northrop in Hypersonic Racing
Northrop/Radon publicly threw their hat into the HAWC project ring in June 2019, starting work in secret several years ago. But a rival team from Lockheed Martin LMT and Aerojet Rocketine AJRT has long been openly involved with the HAWC project.
Both teams’ designs were successfully tested (or “taken by the air”) in September 2020, but never actually launched. Allegedly due to “big mistakes”. However, Lockheed’s follow-up investigation of HAWC has not been announced.
Northrop-Crowman marked a significant gap in the HAWC project with its 2018 merger with weapons manufacturer Orbital ADK. Prior to this, Orbital acquired the company to design and manufacture three unmanned X-43A hypersonic test vehicles. Tested by NASA in 2001 and 2004, the X-43A reached a speed of Mach 9.6 after being launched from a B-52 bomb, becoming the fastest jet-powered aircraft ever.
DARPA is interested in advancing advanced technologies immediately, so the HAWC project, which entered 2014, is looking not to develop an improved weapon, but to refine prerequisites and aviation frame technologies. . Key features like guiding skills are indescribable.
future operational capability