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A joint program by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA)/ US Army Operational Fires (OpFires) has picked a total of three defense companies to develop and demonstrate a novel ground-launched system enabling hypersonic boost-glide weapons to penetrate the world's most advanced air defenses and quickly and accurately engage critical time-sensitive enemy targets.
Aerojet Rocketdyne, Exquadrum, and Sierra Nevada Corporation have each received contracts to immediately start work on design and development for the next generation of propulsion systems that will power America's hypersonic weapons, DARPA announced on Friday.
Program - Manager - US - Army - Amber
DARPA/OpFires program manager US Army major Amber Walker said: “OpFires represents a critical capability development in support of the Army's investments in long-range precision fires."
“These awards are the first step in the process to deliver this capability in support of US overmatch," Walker added.
DARPA/OpFires - Program - Plans - Launch - System
DARPA/OpFires program plans for a mobile ground-based launch system, plus propulsion systems that will launch hypersonic missiles at land-based targets.
The proposed system would be able to fire various payloads at several ranges depending on the mission specifications.
Phase - Program - Effort - Development - Demonstration
Phase I of the program will be a 12-month effort designed on early development and demonstration of booster rockets that provide thrust propulsion for hypersonic missiles.
Phase II will enhance designs and demonstrate performance with live and static fire tests, which are anticipated to be performed in late 2020.
Phase - III - Weapon - System - Integration
Phase III will focus on weapon system integration, will then be followed by flight tests in 2022.
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