US Air Fore selects Raytheon, Northrop Grumman to deliver first hypersonic air-breathing missile

The US Air Force has selected Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies company, to work with Northrop Grumman to develop the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile for the US Air Force (USAF).

According to a press release from Raytheon, the HACM is the first weapon developed in conjunction with the Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE), a US and Australian project.

Under the contract, Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman will deliver ready-to-use missiles to the US Air Force.


“Raytheon Missiles & Defense continues to be at the forefront of hypersonic weapon development and air-breathing technology,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “With advanced threats emerging globally, the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile will provide our warriors with a much-needed capability.”

Hypersonic attack cruise missile is a type of bomb, projectile that sprays breath with compressed air. The Scramjet engine uses high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air prior to combustion, allowing continuous flight at supersonic speeds – Mach 5 or greater. By traveling at this speed, hypersonic weapons, such as HACMs, can reach their targets faster than similar conventional missiles, allowing them to evade defensive systems.

“The Hypersonic attack cruise missile creates a new, strategically important weapon for the U.S. military,” said Mary Petryszyn, vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Defense Systems. “Our scramjet propulsion technology is ushering in a new era of faster, more survivable and more capable weapons.”

Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman have been working together since 2019 to develop, manufacture and integrate Northrop Grumman’s jet engines into Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons. Their combined efforts allowed both companies to produce air-breathing hypersonic weapons, the next generation of tactical missile systems.

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