- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Pentagon’s research arm and Raytheon agree with the “one is the loneliest number” saying when it comes to hypersonic aircraft — technology that can fly more than five times the speed of sound.

The major U.S. defense contractor has been awarded a $63.3 million contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for work on the Tactical Boost Glide [TBG] hypersonic weapons program.

A similar contract worth $147 million was awarded to industry competitor Lockheed Martin in 2016.

“The Pentagon advanced research agency revealed it planned to select a second performer ‘to evolve an All-Up Round (AUR) design to a critical design level of maturity’ [in fiscal 2019 budget documents],” Aviation Week reported Tuesday. “This appears to be the DARPA contract just awarded to Raytheon.”

Writer Graham Warwick detailed concept art by Raytheon for the project showing a “waverider shape, with a distinct, sharp-edged, ogive-planform wing that quickly blends into a wide, wedge-shaped body.”

“We must push the boundaries of technology in every area,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein said of hypersonics development in May 2017. “Our adversaries aren’t standing still. They are looking for every advantage they can get.”

Lockheed had a TBG demonstrator flight testing for its product planned for the second quarter of this year, although an Air Force report to Congress released in January pushed the timeline back to the fourth quarter, Aviation Week noted.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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