US Air Force selects Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Northrop Grumman to deliver first hypersonic air-breathing missile

Tucson, Ariz. September 22, 2022 Photo(s): By Raytheon Missiles & Defense
US Air Force selects Raytheon Defense and Northrop Grumman to develop a first-of-its-kind hypersonic air-breathing missile.

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, in partnership with Northrop Grumman, has been selected to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile for the US Air Force (USAF). 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.

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," said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. "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."