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Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Crane Division has awarded a contract to boost the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) capacity to conduct hypersonic tests regularly.

Announced by the US DoD on 6 October, the contract has been awarded to Dynetics and a team of 20 industry partners.

This Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) is secured via the National Security Technology Accelerator.

This programme will be handled by the Test Resources Management Center (TRMC) under the Office of the Secretary of Defense, while its execution will be managed by NSWC Crane division.  

The primary objective of this award is to increase the country’s domestic capacity to support hypersonic flight tests with a new hypersonic testbed.

This work will also leverage several commercially available launch vehicles to carry the hypersonic payloads. 

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Hypersonics principal director Mike White said: “In order to meet our objectives in hypersonics, we need to be able to launch flight tests much more regularly.”

The US DoD said that the data gathered from the frequent hypersonic tests will open the scope for required technological improvements as well as capability validation.

Additionally, the new testbed will expedite the hypersonic weapon systems’ development, fielding and use across the US DoD.

It will further provide a national hypersonic testing capability to the DoD, which can be utilised for other US military hypersonics programmes.

TRMC director George Rumford said: “In order for us to build the science and technology pipeline needed to develop next generation, leap-ahead capabilities, we must have an affordable test bed that can accommodate continuous flight testing.

“With this OTA, new and innovative technologies for hypersonics will be able to be matured in flight to validate performance, prior to being incorporated into existing weapon systems.”