Raytheon moves project forward to develop hypersonic missile for existing jet fighter and bomber aircraft

Sept. 7, 2021
SCIFiRE aims to advance air-breathing hypersonic technologies to full-size prototypes that are affordable and provide flexible long-range capability.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Hypersonic weapons designers at Raytheon Technologies Corp. are moving forward with a project to advance air-breathing hypersonic technologies together with experts in Australia under terms of a $28 million order announced Friday.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., announced the order to the Raytheon Missiles & Defense segment in Tucson, Ariz., for the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE) Project first-phase preliminary design review.

The order is a modification to a $33.7 million contract to Raytheon last June to kick off the first phase of the SCIFiRE project to mature a solid-rocket-boosted, air-breathing, hypersonic conventional cruise missile able to be launched from existing jet fighter and bomber aircraft.

The SCIFiRE effort aims cooperatively to advance air-breathing hypersonic technologies into full-size prototypes that are affordable and provide a flexible long-range capability. A hypersonic munition flies at five or more times the speed of sound.

Related: Navy asks industry to develop enabling technologies for hypersonic weapons for carrier-based F/A-18E/F jet

The program will culminate in realistic missile flight demonstrations, and will pursue potential co-production opportunities among the U.S. and Australia. The project capitalizes on U.S. and Australian collaborative hypersonic activities conducted over the last 15 years, namely the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) program.

SCIFiRE continues collaborative research efforts that involve the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, and Australian Defence Science and Technology Group.

SCIFiRE is the second effort announced under the Allied Prototyping Initiative, which launched in 2019 to capitalize on new and existing cooperation in research and development.

On this order Raytheon will do the work in Tucson, Ariz., and should be finished by September 2022. For more information contact Raytheon Missiles & Defense www.raytheonmissilesanddefense.com, or the Air Force 96th Test Wing at www.eglin.af.mil/Units/96th-Test-Wing.

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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