Trident II D5 missile
An unarmed Trident II D5 missile launches from the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Nebraska (SSBN 739) off the coast of California. The test launch was part of the U.S. Navy Strategic Systems Program’s demonstration and shakedown operation certification process. The successful launch certified the readiness of an SSBN crew and the operational performance of the submarine’s strategic weapons system before returning to operational availability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ronald Gutridge/Released)

Building upon its pioneering work in hypersonics, Aerojet Rocketdyne is supporting a Lockheed Martin effort to develop a hypersonic conventional missile for the U.S. Air Force under a subcontract valued at $81.5 million.

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the U.S. Air Force’s Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW), an air-launched, stand-off weapon that will be capable of traveling at more than five times the speed of sound.

The HCSW development program is in its early phases and will progress through design, flight testing and initial production and deployment. Lockheed Martin’s contract ceiling through initial operational capability is $928 million.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne is a world leader in hypersonic technology, which has been singled out by the U.S. Department of Defense as a top technical priority,” said Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “We look forward to leveraging and expanding those capabilities as an integral part of Lockheed Martin’s HCSW team.”

The HCWS further expands Aerojet Rocketdyne’s world-class hypersonic technology portfolio, which includes solid-fueled and air-breathing ramjet and scramjet capabilities. Aerojet Rocketdyne’s scramjet engine powered the Boeing X-51A Waverider when it made history by completing the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever. The company has continued to evolve the technology, recently demonstrating a ramjet/scramjet engine.