Raytheon has won a $63.3 million contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons program.
The joint DARPA and U.S. Air Force (USAF) effort includes a critical design review, a key step in fielding the technology.
For a tactical-range boost glide weapon to achieve hypersonic speeds – velocities greater than Mach 5 – “a rocket accelerates its payload to high speeds. The payload then separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination,” according to the DARPA website.
“This latest contract adds to Raytheon’s growing number of hypersonic weapons programs,” said Dr. Thomas Bussing, Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems vice president. “Raytheon is working closely with our customers to quickly field these advanced weapon systems and provide our nation’s military with the tools they need to stay ahead of the escalating threat.”
Hypersonic weapons will enable the U.S. military to engage from longer ranges with shorter response times and enhanced effectiveness compared to current weapon systems.
DARPA/USAF Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program
The Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program is a joint DARPA/U.S. Air Force (USAF) effort that aims to develop and demonstrate technologies to enable future air-launched, tactical-range hypersonic boost glide systems. In a boost glide system, a rocket accelerates its payload to high speeds. The payload then separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination.
TBG is a two-phase effort that plans to include ground and flight testing to mature critical technologies, and aims to demonstrate the system performance achievable through the integration of those technologies. The program is using a disciplined systems engineering approach to define demonstration system objectives and identify enabling technologies needed for future systems. The TBG program is exploiting the technical knowledge and lessons derived from development and flight testing of previous boost glide systems, including the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2).