• The U.S. Army has opened a Request For Information to start a search for competitors
  • The system must be truck-based and able to go over 3,800 miles per hour
  • The contract will be for just under $100 million and a base of 2 years with an option for 2 more 

The U.S. Army is seeking new candidates to develop and accommodate the flight test of new hypersonic weapons that are vehicle-based. The contract valued at just under $100 million has been opened up to all companies that fall within the realm of meeting the requirements.These requirements include the capability to develop missiles and submit contractual approaches to the U.S. military by the spring of 2020. The base contract will be awarded for two years with one single option for a 2-year extension.

According to a report by DefenseBlog, contractors are required to possess a top-secret facility clearance and a secret safeguarding capability at the time of the contract award. The guidelines also stipulate that all personnel working for the contractor in support of this contract must all be U.S. citizens and have, at a minimum, a secret clearance at the time of contract award, or they will not be considered.

Hypersonic weapons are the new race for military supremacy across the world. Recently, Russia claimed that they will not be outdone and cannot be beaten as far as hypersonic weapons go.The goal of the U.S. Army is to get the first long-range hypersonic weapon experimental prototype by 2023, and it should be land-based and able to be fired from a truck. The Army is requesting that this be done promptly so that it may keep pace with other world power adversaries such as Russia and China. The development of such weaponry has not been at the forefront of military technology until recently when the U.S. pulled out of a treaty that limited the distance that a missile could fire.

Hypersonic Rocket Engine
British company Reaction Engines is developing an air-breathing rocket engine that utilizes both jet turbine and rocket technology. Reuters

The objective of a hypersonic weapon system is to fire a missile that can travel at over 3,800 miles per hour or Mach 5. The weapon should leave the Earth's atmosphere out of range of other air-to-air missiles or defense systems until they're ready to strike. At such time, there would be no possible defense against the hypersonic weapon, and it would hit its target. The U.S. has many contractors that are working on air-to-air versions of the hypersonic missile, and it would not be surprising to see some of them such as Raytheon or Lockheed enter this race.

A source with the United States military tells International Business Times that the technology has been developed precisely for this by several defense contractors, and it will be interesting to see how this race ends up. Most of the defense contractors in the United States with capabilities like this have also been working on defensive measures to prevent against the attack of hypersonic missiles fired by adversaries.