US Air Force is taking Russian and Chinese hypersonic weapon systems very seriously and has decided to up its game a bit more. They have awarded Lockheed Martin a contract of worth US$928 million to develop a conventional strike weapon cable which can fly at speeds of up to 5 Machs. The Lockheed Martin Space division in Huntsville, Alabama will be carrying out the indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity contract on the air-launched stand-off missile. Hypersonic weapons have been considered the new revolutionary armament that can change the battlefield of the future permanently.
When flying at speed of over Mach 5, the missiles and projectiles will be very difficult to be destroyed by conventional weapons which are designed to target incoming supersonic weapons. The extremely high inertia of the missiles also makes them very destructive even if there is no warhead installed on them. Russia and China have claimed that not only they have created one but have also deployed the hypersonic missiles. The US Air Force has taken the threat of a new Sputnik Moment very seriously and has therefore assigned the new contract to Lockheed Martin. The tasks assigned to the company include designing, development, engineering, system integration, test, logistics planning, and aircraft integration support.
Air Force spokesman Ann Stefanek said in a statement, “This effort is one of two hypersonic weapon prototyping efforts being pursued by the Air Force to accelerate hypersonics research and development. The Air Force is using prototyping to explore the art-of-the-possible and to advance these technologies to a capability as quickly as possible.”