AUSA NEWS: Army Plans to Field Battery of New Hypersonic Missiles By 2023
Concept art: Dynetics Technical Solutions
The Army plans to deploy a new long-range hypersonic weapon system no later than fiscal year 2023, a program leader said Oct 14.
“We’re going to field an experimental prototype with residual combat capability by 2023,” said Robert Strider, deputy director of Army hypersonic programs said at the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. “Those words are tattooed on every one of us within the rapid capability and critical technologies office.”
The service plans to deliver a battery of eight missiles, which will launch from a mobile ground platform, breaking speeds of Mach 5, he said.
The weapon system falls under the Army’s No. 1 modernization priority: long-range precision fires.
Dynetics Technical Solutions won an other transaction authority agreement this summer to produce the glide body for the missile, Strider said.
“They've got a team built around them … at Sandia [National Laboratories] right now, learning all the processes and procedures to build this very unique system,” he said.
The Army and Navy are working together to develop the weapon.
“The booster that we'll use to launch it … will be absolutely common with the Navy,” Strider said. “In fact, there's a [memorandum of agreement] in place that put the Navy in charge of design and the Army in charge of production.”
The program could face delays if Congress can't pass a long-term defense spending bill for fiscal year 2020, he noted. Federal government agencies are currently operating under a short-term continuing resolution, which holds funding at 2019 levels. Additional CRs would hold up contracts for the long-range hypersonic weapon, or LRHW.
“We will need additional funding to keep moving forward … to keep our schedule," Strider said.
Both China and Russia are pursuing hypersonics programs and have claimed to make breakthroughs. Defense Department leaders have declared the technology a top research-and-development priority. Maneuverable missiles that can reach hypersonic speeds are hard to defeat, which makes them a disruptive technology, experts have said.
Lt. Gen. L. Neil Thurgood, director of hypersonics, directed energy, space and rapid acquisition for the Army, said the service plans to stay on its current trajectory and only adjust if necessary.
“We'll play our role as the services present what we believe are the requirements to Congress, and then they have to apply that back to us,” Thurgood said.
Topics: Army News