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HACM undergoing subsystem ground testing, beginning fabrication

In 2022, Raytheon released this computer rendering to illustrate its HACM concept. (Raytheon)

Raytheon's Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM), an air-launched, air-breathing hypersonic vehicle, is undergoing subsystem component testing and beginning component fabrication, company programme director Nate Szyba told Janes .

In September 2022 Raytheon and Northrop Grumman were awarded a USD985 million contract to build and test the HACM by 2027, with the latter providing the propulsion system and the former the vehicle.

β€œWe're starting to get into some of the ground test activities that we have planned,” said Szyba in a 15 May interview. β€œWe are making really good progress, getting some of the hardware fabrication started and executing some pretty substantial ground test events across the whole programme.”

β€œWe'll have several design reviews that lead up to our first series of flight-tests, and we've got our [preliminary design review] phase of the programme around the same time. I can't say exactly when that's going to be,” Szyba said.

Szyba declined to specify what systems are under test or how far they have come in the testing process, but cited HACM's descent from the experimental US Air Force-Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (USAF-DARPA) Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), which Raytheon also built. The HAWC programme ended in January 2023 after its fourth successful test flight.

Although HAWC and the related, in-development US-Australian Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) are technology demonstrators, they are designed and built with weaponisation in mind, and Raytheon has been able to port component designs directly from one project to the other.

β€œWe're leveraging a lot of technology that we developed under HAWC and lifting it almost unchanged into the HACM design,” Szyba told Janes

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