In a step closer to flight tests, the US Navy has conducted a successful live-fire ground test of the First Stage Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) that will be used in the American offensive hypersonic missile system. The October 28, 2021 test at Promontory, Utah was the first test to include the thrust vector control system for maneuvering the rocket in flight.
With the recent news that China may have tested a globe-circling hypersonic missile, (which has been denied by China), the race for the United States to field its own system is heating up. As part of this effort, the Navy Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) is working on a common hypersonic missile that will be used to develop the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) hypersonic weapon for the US Navy and the Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) for the US Army.
Fired from a mobile launcher tube, the common hypersonic missile will use a two-stage solid rocket to boost the Common Hypersonic Glide Body (CHGB) to speeds in excess of Mach 5. The glider then separates and dives towards its target, accelerating under the force of gravity. The glider is being built by Dynetics and the booster by Lockheed Martin, which will also assemble the missile and launcher.
The latest round of tests are the second live fires, with the first, conducted on May 27 and August 25, 2021, involving the First and Second Stages of the SRM. The information gathered by the tests will be used to develop the technology to a practical level for the surface-to-surface LRHW for the Army and the Navy’s CPS missile for ships and submarines, with both sharing a common design.
“This test continues to build momentum to deliver hypersonics capability for our war-fighters in support of the National Defense Strategy,” says Lieutenant General L. Neil Thurgood, Director of Hypersonics, Directed Energy, Space and Rapid Acquisition. “Fielding hypersonic weapons is one of the highest priority modernization areas the Department of Defense is pursuing to ensure our continued battlefield dominance, and the joint team did a tremendous job executing this test and keeping us on schedule.”
Source: US Navy
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