Raytheon nabs $63.3 million DARPA contract for hypersonic weapons program

TUCSON, Ariz. Raytheon has signed a $63.3 million contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to continue to develop a “tactical boost glide” (TBG) hypersonic weapons program.

According to information from DARPA, for a tactical-range boost glide weapon to achieve hypersonic speeds – that is, velocities greater than Mach 5 – "a rocket accelerates its payload to high speeds. The payload then separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination."

Raytheon officials say that hypersonic  weapons will enable the U.S. military to engage from longer ranges with shorter response times and enhanced effectiveness compared to current weapon systems. "This latest contract adds to Raytheon's growing number of hypersonic weapons programs," said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. "Raytheon is working closely with our customers to quickly field these advanced weapon systems and provide our nation's military with the tools they need to stay ahead of the escalating threat."

The joint DARPA/U.S. Air Force effort includes a critical design review, a key step in bringing the technology to fruition.