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DOD Needs More Affordable Hypersonics to Ramp Up Acquisition, Official Says

Hypersonic weapon


DOD Needs More Affordable Hypersonics to Ramp Up Acquisition, Official Says

The defense industry needs to lower the cost of hypersonic systems as the Department of Defense moves to scale up its acquisition of the high-priority technology, a top department official said.

Heidi Shyu, the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, noted that the majority of the military’s hypersonic programs are in the development phase, National Defense Magazine reported Monday.

The Army previously said that it expects its first battle-ready hypersonic weapon to be fielded by 2022 or 2023.

The Navy’s own Conventional Prompt Strike hypersonic capability, which passed testing in 2020, is expected to follow soon after as it uses the same glide body as the Army’s weapon.

While the Air Force has not yet completed its hypersonics tests, the service has already proven the viability of its Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept.

Shyu, a speaker at a past Potomac Officers Club event, said that as the technology advances, the services will become more concerned about the affordability of systems.

“And that’s a piece I would like to help industry focus on: how can we develop affordable hypersonics materials and manufacturing processes to drive down the cost?” she said during the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual convention.

Shyu added that she expects the Pentagon to eventually benefit from economies of scale.

Kelly Sayler, an advanced technology and global security analyst with the Congressional Research Service, said that the DOD might not have fully established its long-term hypersonic funding plan yet.

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