Pentagon Awards Hypersonic Missile 'Defense' Contracts to US Companies
The Pentagon has awarded 3 US companies 'defense' contracts to research and design a missile system capable of intercepting hypersonic weapons.
On Friday, the Pentagon awarded Northrop Grumman (NOC.N), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N), and Raytheon (RTX.N) 'defense' contracts to research and design a missile system that is able to intercept hypersonic weapons in case of attack.
The three companies received separate contracts, which, according to the Pentagon, totaled about $60 million.
Hypersonic missiles fly 5 times the speed of sound - a fraction of the speed of a ballistic missile - and are more maneuverable than ballistic missiles. They have the capability of operating at low altitudes, making them more difficult to detect or track. They are, however, agile and do not follow the fixed parabolic trajectory of a ballistic missile.
The US, Russia, and China are all working on hypersonic weapons, such as glide vehicles that are sent into space on a rocket but orbit the globe on their momentum.
The Pentagon recently confirmed that China has tested a hypersonic missile which entered space and orbited the Earth before heading toward its target, according to The Financial Times, explaining that Beijing has made a hypersonic missile much faster than expected.
Russia, too, has its share. Last month, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the Russian Navy tested the Zircon hypersonic missile for the first time from the nuclear submarine, Severodvinsk.