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US Navy issues RFS for hypersonic weapons capability improvements

US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) issued a request for solutions (RFS) on 9 March to industry for the near-term submission of advanced technology initiatives to improve and upgrade its hypersonic weapons capabilities portfolio.

Managed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), responses to the RFS are expected by 25 March.

NAVSEA noted that the primary objective of what it designates the ‘Hypersonics Advanced Capabilities for Weapon System Improvements' effort is to rapidly develop capability prototypes, which will be integrated into a developmental flight test campaign for demonstration.

According to the RFS, “technologies include battery modules, alternative position, navigation, and timing (PNT) for navigation in place of Global Positioning System (GPS), and high-temperature radio frequency (RF) apertures to survive the extreme environment external to the vehicle. Target environments range from onset of hypersonic regimes at Mach 5 to traditional re-entry regimes experienced by the Space Shuttle, for example, nearing Mach 25”.

For the battery module, NAVSEA is soliciting solutions addressing high power-density, storable battery chemistries suitable for high reliability, long-term storage (greater than 20 years), and which are suitable for naval applications.

While GPS has become a pervasive technology for military uses, it has security and availability challenges. This, NAVSEA said, “creates a need to explore alternative technology solutions that could utilise terrestrial or non-terrestrial, natural or manmade objects, or signals of opportunity that may be available worldwide to provide navigation accuracy comparable to GPS”.

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