DARPA’s Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), a missile program conducted in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, completed another successful free flight in early July. This is the second demonstration vehicle built by Raytheon Technologies to meet test objectives. The first Raytheon flight was in September 2021. It was followed by success with a different contractor’s vehicle configuration this past spring.
This second flight of Raytheon’s HAWC design leveraged data collected during the 2021 flight. After release from an aircraft, the first stage boosted the vehicle to the expected scramjet ignition envelope. From there, the missile’s Northrop Grumman scramjet engine fired up and propelled the cruiser to speeds greater than Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) for more than 300 nautical miles and reaching altitudes higher than 60,000 feet.