Lockheed Martin, Air Force reach deal on $480M hypersonic weapons contract

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The U.S. Air Force has awarded a second hypersonic weapons contract to Lockheed Martin to begin designing another prototype of a super-fast missile.

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Lockheed Martin’s contract is not to exceed $480 million, and work on the air-launched rapid response weapon (ARRW) is scheduled to be completed by November 2021, the Air Force announced this week. The contract falls under the company’s missiles and fire control business located in Orlando, Florida.

A hypersonic weapon would be able to travel at speeds of at least Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.

“We are going to go fast and leverage the best technology available to get hypersonic capability to the warfighter as soon as possible,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in a statement.

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Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, won a $928 million contract in April to build what the Air Force calls a hypersonic conventional strike weapon (HCSW). Under the deal, Lockheed Martin will design the weapon and provide logistical support.

Separately, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company is working on the SR-72, a hypersonic unmanned spy plane.