Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract modification, worth around $988.8 million, from the U.S. Air Force in support of its newest hypersonic missile, the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).
The modification is for the critical design review, test and production readiness support. The original contract, with a not-to-exceed value of $480 million, was awarded in August last year. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the contracting activity.
Work will be performed at Orlando, Florida, and is expected to be completed Dec. 31, 2022.
The ARRW (pronounced “Arrow”) effort is one of two hypersonic weapon prototyping efforts being pursued by the Air Force to accelerate hypersonic research and development, the other being the Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) – for which a $928 million contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in April last year.
The ARRW and HCSW efforts are developing unique capabilities for the warfighter and each has different technical approaches. The ARRW effort is “pushing the art-of-the-possible” by leveraging the technical base established by the Air Force/DARPA partnership. The HCSW effort is using mature technologies that have not been integrated for an air-launched delivery system. The Armament Directorate of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) is providing program management of these prototyping efforts.
The first captive flight test of the ARRW hypersonic missile, designated as AGM-183A, was successfully conducted by the U.S. Air Force on a B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber aircraft on June 12 at Edwards Air Force Base, California.
During the flight, a sensor-only version of the ARRW prototype was carried externally by a B-52 during the test to gather environmental and aircraft handling data. The prototype did not have explosives and it was not released from the B-52 during the flight test. This type of data collection is required for all Air Force weapon systems undergoing development.
The ARRW missile is set to reach initial operational capability by fiscal year 2022.