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US Taps Lockheed for $756M Long Range Hypersonic Weapon Deal

The US Army has signed a $756-million deal with Lockheed Martin to acquire new capabilities for the country’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) system.

Under the contract, Lockheed will provide additional LRHW battery equipment, systems and software engineering support, and logistics solutions.

The items will boost the force’s ability to launch hypersonic missiles from ground mobile platforms, providing updated features for the US’ critical national security posture.

“Lockheed Martin is proud to continue our strong partnership with the U.S. government for hypersonic strike capability,” Lockheed Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems VP Steve Layne said.

‘Dark Eagle’ Developments and Drawbacks

The US’ first LRHW, dubbed “Dark Eagle,” was deployed for the first time in April 2023 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where it was used as part of an expeditionary launch rehearsal.

Command and control drills were conducted, testing out its integration status as a deterrent in the Pacific.

Although originally planned to be fully operational by the end of 2023, Dark Eagle encountered undisclosed pre-flight check failures in September.

The US Army is currently following a “step-by-step risk reduction” plan to ensure the weapon successfully launches Common-Hypersonic Glide Body missiles. Once operational, it is expected to launch the missile at up to Mach 17 (13,000 miles/21,000 kilometers per hour).

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