The Pentagon on Thursday said it awarded Raytheon Technologies Corp a $985 million dollar contract to develop prototypes for the hypersonic attack cruise missile.
Raytheon beat out Boeing and Lockheed Martin to continue its development of the weapon. The award is a significant advance in the development of hypersonic weapons for the U.S., and puts Raytheon in an early lead for a series of related contract awards in the years ahead.
Hypersonic weapons travel in the upper atmosphere at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 kilometers per hour.
The United States and China are engaged in an arms race to develop the most lethal hypersonic weapons, a top Air Force official acknowledged late last year, as Beijing and Washington build and test more and more of the high-speed next-generation arms.
The hypersonic attack cruise missile (HACM) is an air launched hypersonic weapon that was developed in cooperation with the Australian government.
The Air Force expects delivery in fiscal 2027.
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