US tests hypersonic missile launch system from logistics trucks

US tests hypersonic missile launch system from logistics trucks

China and Russia may be ahead in developing hypersonic missiles, but the US military continues to work on them and the systems needed to make them a more effective weapon. In this aspect, it is necessary to place the program Operational Fires that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States, DARPA, carries out in collaboration with private companies.

OpFires develops new technologies for hypersonic weapons and one of its goals is to achieve a new system for launching hypersonic missiles from the ground that do not need a custom vehicle (TEL, Transporter Erector Launcher or transporter erector launcher), but can be used with logistics trucks that the US Army already hassuch as the PLS (Palletized Load System) that have been in service since 1993.

The test, reported by DARPA in a statement, was carried out in New Mexico, at the Army facility in White Sands, with a medium-range missile whose launch rocket, the first stage, used an engine from the Northrup Grumman manufacturer. . According to the agency, the test was a success in all respects, including “the first-ever use of a US Marine Corps (USMC) logistics truck as a medium-range missile launcher, missile canister output, stable flight capture, and use of fire control systems U.S. Army Inventory Ordnance.” The entire system has been manufactured by the Lockheed Martin company.

Lt. Col. Joshua Stults, OpFires Program Manager, said, “This is a promising step toward an on-demand TEL capability for accurately fire medium-range missiles from readily available, highly agile logistics trucks that are already in the inventory of the US Army and Marine Corps.”

OpFires envisions a two-stage propulsion system that can be used with a variety of payloads, including hypersonic missiles capable of five times the speed of sound. Not having to do it from a vehicle specifically designed for this type of weapon increases agility so that “quickly and accurately engage critical and time-sensitive targets while penetrating modern enemy air defenses”.

Another of the objectives of the program is that the missiles can attack targets located within a wide range, for which DARPA successfully tested last year. a second-stage propulsion system that can be turned off before using up all of its fuel the agency reported last summer, such that a missile can hit “targets located anywhere within a medium-range area.

A moment from last year's test of a hypersonic missile's second-stage propulsion system that can shut down before fuel is consumed.
A moment from last year’s test of a hypersonic missile’s second-stage propulsion system that can shut down before fuel is consumed.

The OpFires program is currently in phase 3b and will complete a review of the integrated system used in the trial later this year.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.