More investments for the US Army Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon 30/05/2024 | Fabio Di Felice

As announced by the Vice President of Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems at Lockheed Martin, Steve Layne, the US Army has awarded a $756 million new contract to enhance its ground-based hypersonic weapon system project, the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) also known as DARK EAGLE. Under this new contract, Lockheed Martin will provide additional battery equipment, systems and software engineering, and more importantly, support other flight testing. The LRHW system includes the canister, a battery operations centre, and transporter erector launchers able to launch ultra-fast and manoeuvrable long-range hypersonic missiles. The missile is composed of the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB - made by a weapon’s warhead, guidance system, cabling, and thermal protection shields) and a 2-stage rocket booster developed by the US Navy (Conventional Prompt Strike – CPS). It can fly faster than Mach 5 and quickly manoeuvre making it difficult to detect and intercept. Lockheed Martin delivered the first LRHW battery to the US Army in 2021, but the cancellation of some critical flight tests of the system in the last 2 years has provoked additional delays in the program. For this reason, it’s unlikely that the US Army will achieve its goal of fielding its first set of DARK EAGLE hypersonic missiles by the end of this calendar year, as originally planned. With this new injection of funds, clearly to support the flight testing, it is likely that Lockheed and the US Army will be able to overcome the acquisition standard rule to successfully complete 3 flight tests before going into service. The DARK EAGLE was supposed to officially enter Army service in the strategic fires battalion of the service’s 1st Multi-Domain Task Force.

Share on: