American defence prime Raytheon has announced the successful completion of a technical review and prototype fit check of the HALO carrier-based, long-range, high-speed missile.
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Work is being completed in Tucson, Arizona, on the US Navy’s new Hypersonic Air Launched Offensive Anti-Surface program, according to a company announcement made on 9 January.
The program aims to allow the US Navy to operate in and control contested battlespaces in anti-access and area-denial environments, while being supported under their long-range fires strategy.
Digital and physical design concepts and models of Raytheon’s HALO prototype were created using digital and model-based engineering techniques across several months of accelerated development.
“This is a key step in fielding the Navy’s first anti-ship hypersonic missile,” according to Colin Whelan, Raytheon advanced technology president.
“It’s critical that our warfighters have proven technology that can address advanced threats in contested environments, and they need this technology now.
“We’re leveraging our expertise in hypersonics to deliver a straightforward and mature, digitally engineered system at the pace the Navy needs.”
A successful fit check on an F/A-18 Super Hornet multirole fighter aircraft was held between September and December last year, ensuring that the prototype is compatible with the US Navy’s Super Hornet aircraft and existing support equipment.
Raytheon was originally awarded a phase one HALO contract in March 2023. At that time, the US Navy announced it had awarded two contracts to Raytheon Missiles and Defense and Lockheed Martin on 27 March 2023 for the initial development for a carrier suitable long-range, high-speed missile designated HALO.
Those contracts were valued at a total of $116 million, with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin providing technical maturation and development through preliminary design review of the propulsion system required for a carrier suitable hypersonic weapon system. The contract period of performance for each award will end in December 2024 with each company’s preliminary design review working towards a prototype flight test.
“As threat capability continues to advance, additional range, warfare capability and capacity is required to address the more demanding threat environment,” said Captain Richard Gensley, Precision Strike Weapons (PMA-201) program manager.
“Our team is leveraging science and technology and rapid prototyping arenas to support aggressive schedule execution.”
The program is part of the Navy’s Long Range Fires investment approach to meet objectives of the National Defense Strategy where hypersonic weapons are a top priority, he said.
HALO’s predecessor, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), is currently fielded on the Navy’s F/A-18 and Air Force B-1B. To bridge the gap until HALO is operational, the Navy recently funded an upgrade to the existing weapon which will incorporate missile hardware and software improvements to enhance targeting capabilities.
The Navy plans to pursue a competitive acquisition strategy leveraging LRASM requirements and concept of operations to meet future maritime threats beyond mid-2020s. Initial operational capability for HALO is planned to field late this decade.