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May 28, 2021

US Navy and industrial partners test new hypersonic rocket motor

The first stage SRM test supports broader efforts to field hypersonic strike capability with the US Navy and US Army.

The US Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs (SSP) office, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman have tested the first-stage solid rocket motor (SRM) in Promontory, Utah.

Conducted on 27 May, the firing boosts development of the navy’s Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) offensive hypersonic missile and the army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW).

CPS is a hypersonic boost glide missile and weapon system that allows long-range flight with ‘high survivability against enemy defences’.

Lockheed Martin noted that CPS and LRHW share a ‘common all up’ round that can be launched from surface ships, submarines, and land-based mobile launchers.

The rocket motor was developed by Northrop Grumman, while Lockheed Martin served as the prime weapon systems integrator.

In the latest live-fire ground test of the first stage SRM, the ‘motor fired for the full trial duration’ and met all the performance parameters and objectives within expected ranges.

Lockheed Martin Conventional Strike Programs programme director Steve Layne said: “We’re pleased to celebrate this important event with the US Navy, army and Northrup Grumman.

“This outcome today is due to our shared effort and determination to see this test on the Conventional Prompt Strike programme succeed.

“This live fire event is a major milestone on the path to providing hypersonic strike capability to the US Navy and US Army warfighters.”

The first stage SRM will be part of a ‘new missile booster’ for the US Navy and US Army.

It will be integrated with a Common Hypersonic Glide Body (CHGB) to create the common hypersonic missile.

According to the US Navy, the SRM test represents a major milestone leading up to the next navy and army joint flight test expected to take place in the first quarter of 2022.

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