Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have been selected to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) for the US Air Force.
HACM is a first-of-its-kind weapon developed in conjunction with the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), a US and Australia project arrangement.
The SCIFiRE Program, which aims to develop a propulsion-launched, scramjet-powered weapon, is based on more than 15 years of collaboration between Australia and the United States on science and technology research into hypersonic scramjets, rocket motors, sensors, and advanced manufacturing materials. The SCFiRE agreement was signed during AUSMIN discussions in Washington in July 2020 and announced by then-Defence Minister Reynolds on 1 December that year.
Under this contract, the Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman team will deliver operationally ready missiles to the USAF.
“Raytheon Missiles & Defense continues to be at the forefront of hypersonic weapon and air-breathing technology development,” Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said. “With advanced threats emerging around the globe, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile will provide our warfighters a much-needed capability.”
The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile is an air-breathing, scramjet powered munition. Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion, which enables sustained flight at hypersonic speeds – Mach 5 or greater. By traveling at these speeds, hypersonic weapons, like HACM, are able to reach their targets more quickly than similar traditional missiles, allowing them to potentially evade defensive systems.
“The Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile creates a new class of strategically important weapons for the US military,” said Mary Petryszyn, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. “Our scramjet propulsion technology is ushering in a new era for faster, more survivable and highly capable weapons.”
Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have been working together since 2019 to develop, produce and integrate Northrop Grumman's scramjet engines onto Raytheon's air-breathing hypersonic weapons.