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UK announces plans for hypersonic missile development with industry

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence is inviting the defence industry to apply for the development of advanced hypersonic missile capabilities under a £1 billion framework announced earlier this year.

The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence is inviting the defence industry to apply for the development of advanced hypersonic missile capabilities under a £1 billion framework announced earlier this year.

The Hypersonic Technologies and Capability Development Framework is being mobilised after the UK government indicated they are keen to accelerate the development of a sovereign UK hypersonic strike capability while bolstering AUKUS collaboration with Australia and the United States.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is reportedly keen to encourage both established corporations and small and medium enterprises, as well as academia, to join the framework.

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Those organisations that are accepted onto the framework, governed by Team Hypersonics (UK), will be eligible to apply for contracts across eight lots. In July, it was announced that the maximum value of the framework across the next seven years is up to £1 billion.

Services and supplies to be procured are likely to include research, systems, components, technology, infrastructure, testing and components, including airframes, flight control computer systems, guidance systems, data links systems, evaluation, platform integration, academic research, system design authority, modelling and simulation, thermal management, mission planning and assurance.

Team Hypersonics (UK) wants to enable a collaborative enterprise approach to development that leverages the strength and breadth of UK talent and innovation across MOD, industry, and academia.

There will be no minimum or maximum number of suppliers per lot, nor on the framework, which will be managed by Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the UK MOD.

“This is an exciting opportunity to be part of an iconic national endeavour. We are keen for industry and academia to apply to join the commercial framework and a build a broad defence enterprise,” said UK Team Hypersonics programme director Paul Wilson.

“In this way, we will drive the development of new capabilities, to harness advanced technologies, and build greater competitive edge for the UK Armed Forces and our allies.”

Interested suppliers are required to register to participate through the Defence Sourcing Portal and submit a pre-qualification questionnaire response by 12 January 2024.

The new development focus is likely spurred by indications that the United Kingdom and the United States of America are in a race to bridge the gap between their own weapons and tracking systems against those of the People’s Republic of China and Russia.

Earlier this year, American primes Raytheon and Lockheed Martin were engaged under two contracts to develop a hypersonic air-launched offensive anti-surface missile for the US Navy.

Both contracts are worth a total of US$116 million for the initial development of the carrier-suitable long-range, high-speed, and air-launched anti-surface missile, according to an announcement by US Naval Air Systems Command on 28 March.

Each company will work towards a preliminary design review of the propulsion system required for the weapon before the contract period of performance ends in December next year, and each company’s preliminary design review will work towards a prototype flight test.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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