Image courtesy: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

Raytheon, DARPA push forward with hypersonic weapon design

Raytheon Company and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have made progress in hypersonic flight with the Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) hypersonic weapons program. The team completed a successful baseline design review that establishes the technical approach for a critical design review, which moves the system a step closer to development and use.

The boost glide weapon system will use a rocket to accelerate its payload and achieve hypersonic speeds greater than Mach 5, or over one mile per second. During flight, the unpowered payload will separate from the rocket and follow a glidepath to its destination. Earlier this year, Raytheon received a $63 million DARPA contract to further develop the Tactical Boost Glide program, a joint effort between the agency and the U.S. Air Force.


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“We understand the urgency of the need and are working fast to deliver this advanced technology to our nation's military,” says Dr. Thomas Bussing, vice president of Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems. “The goal is to keep America ahead of emerging threats, and we are well on our way.”

The U.S. military will use hypersonic weapons to engage from longer ranges with shorter response times and with greater effectiveness than current weapon systems. The TBG program is exploiting the technical knowledge and lessons derived from development and flight testing of previous boost glide systems, including the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2.



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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at


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