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Boeing Huntsville wins $70M contract for hypersonic missile killer

Boeing. Huntsville area photos from January 2021. (Joe Songer | [email protected]/TNS).
September 15, 2023

Boeing has won a $70.5 million defense contract to develop and test technologies for “an aerial weapon” that can bring down hypersonic missiles and 36 percent of that development and testing will be done in Huntsville, the company said today.

Hypersonic missiles fly faster than the speed of sound and can maneuver at those speeds to avoid incoming fire and mask their targets. Defending against them and developing America’s own hypersonic arsenal is a major part of modern national defense plans and a major driver of defense costs.

Boeing will do dynamics analysis, wind tunnel testing and evaluations during test flights. The effort is for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) “Glide Breaker” program, the company said. The contract is for four years and expected to be finished in February 2027.

“Hypersonic vehicles are among the most dangerous and rapidly evolving threats facing national security,” Boeing program executive Gil Griffin said. “We’re focusing on the technological understanding needed to further develop our nation’s counter-hypersonic capabilities and defend from future threats.”

The interceptor Boeing is developing must be able to destroy a threat traveling at least five times the speed of sound in the upper atmosphere with “significant maneuverability.”

“We’re operating on the cutting edge of what’s possible in terms of intercepting an extremely fast object in an incredibly dynamic environment,” Griffin said.

Boeing employs more than 3,000 people in Huntsville with most working on defense programs. It is the prime contractor in the Ground-based Midcourse Defensive system that protects the country including Alaska and Hawaii from long-range missile attacks.


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