DARPA awards Lockheed Martin hypersonic OpFires phase 3 contract

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The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has awarded Lockheed Martin a $31.9 million contract for the Operational Fires Phase 3 Weapon System Integration program.

OpFires seeks to develop and demonstrate an innovative ground-launched system to enable a hypersonic boost glide missile system to penetrate modern enemy air defenses and rapidly engage time-sensitive targets.

Lockheed Martin, DARPA and the U.S. Army, aims to develop and demonstrate an innovative, ground-launched, mobile, integrated weapon system that leverages DARPA-funded propulsion solutions and hypersonic boost glide technology. The award for Phase 3 of the OpFires program will take the design from the initial requirements development through the Critical Design Review in late 2021. Integrated flight testing is scheduled to begin in 2022, with component and subsystem tests expected in 2021. 

“The OpFires missile is critical to providing the U.S. Army with a highly maneuverable and rapid response solution capable of operating from unpredictable land-launch positions to suppress hostile threats,” said Hady Mourad, director of Tactical and Strike Missiles Advanced Programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “Lockheed Martin will deliver the prototype missiles utilizing the experienced production teams that currently produce the ATACMS, GMLRS and PAC-3 missile systems in Camden, Ark.”

Hypersonic weapons will provide a survivable and affordable capability that will overcome distance in contested environments using high speed, altitude and maneuverability. They amplify many of the enduring attributes of airpower – speed, range, flexibility and precision.

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