DARPA awards Raytheon $174.7M contract for hypersonic program

By Jordana Mishory / October 31, 2016 at 4:41 PM

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Raytheon a $174.7 million contract today for a program designed to develop technologies that would enable weapon systems to fly more than five times the speed of sound -- the third and final contract expected for the agency's hypersonic-related programs.

According to an Oct. 31 Federal Business Opportunities notice, DARPA awarded Raytheon the $174.7 million for phase two of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept, which is one of two hypersonic-related programs that DARPA and the Air Force are jointly working on.

This Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept program aims to "develop and demonstrate critical technologies to enable an effective and affordable air-launched hypersonic cruise missile," according to DARPA's website. The Tactical Boost Glide program is the other hypersonic-related program that seeks to "develop and demonstrate technologies to enable future air-launched, tactical-range hypersonic boost glide systems," according to DARPA's website.

In September, DARPA awarded a $171.2 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract to Lockheed Martin for the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept program, according to a Sept. 23 contract announcement. DARPA also awarded Lockheed a $147.3 million contract as part of its Tactical Boost Glide program, according to a Sept. 19 contract announcement.

DARPA spokesman Jared Adams said that the Oct. 31 contract award would be the last award under DARPA'S current hypersonic-related programs. The agency is eying future related programs.

Hypersonic weapons, which can fly more than five times the speed of sound, are intended to provide a long-range, rapid, precise capability for destroying high-risk targets that appear only briefly or are heavily guarded. Such weapons would evade enemy defenses in anti-access and area-denial threat environments.