Lockheed’s LRHW Contract & Hypersonic Weapon Development Progress

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Lockheed's LRHW Contract
Lockheed's LRHW Contract

Hypersonic speeds are those between Mach 5 and Mach 10, meaning five to ten times the speed of sound, or 3,836 to 7,673 mph (6,173 to 12,346 kph). The U.S. military is working on several programs to develop hypersonic weapons, including the Navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) and the Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW).

Recently, the LRHW program made significant progress when the Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $756 million contract for additional hypersonic weapons systems. The LRHW is a ground-based system, with missiles launched from mobile platforms. Army trucks will carry two missiles each in dedicated launchers, forming a battery of four trucks.

Lockheed's LRHW Contract
Lockheed’s LRHW Contract (Lockheed)

The missile, a glide body with a nose cone, uses a rocket to reach the desired altitude and speed before the glide body separates and heads to the target. Lockheed Martin produces the rocket, while Dynetics makes the glide vehicle.

Under the new contract, Lockheed Martin will deliver the battery equipment, provide systems support, software engineering, and logistics, and ensure compatibility with the Navy’s All Up Round (AUR) developed under the CPS program. The first LRHW system, called Dark Eagle, was delivered to the Army in 2021 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Washington.

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