US Air Force Scraps Major Hypersonic Weapon Program Amid Budget Squeeze

The Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW) program has been killed by the US Air Force as the service looks to make budget cuts in the area of hypersonic prototyping in the coming year.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek revealed Monday that budget pressure, rather than performance, influenced the service’s decision to abandon its HCSW program and continue its development of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) – its other hypersonic weapon program.

“We will continue to work collaboratively with our sister services to see how we can most effectively leverage each other’s capabilities, ensuring the most prudent use of taxpayer dollars,” she said in a statement emailed to Defense News on February 10.

Stefanek said that Lockheed Martin, which was developing both hypersonic weapons, will have to conclude its work associated with the HCSW program following the service’s critical design review of the product in the spring. The ARRW is slated to reach early operational capability in fiscal year 2022.

While the US is investing some $576 million into hypersonic prototyping in fiscal year 2020, that investment is projected to drop to $382 million for fiscal year 2021, according to Defense News.

“The HCSW team successfully met all developmental milestones. These advancements will serve to expedite the generation and demonstration of various hypersonic weapon capabilities in the near future,” Stefanek said.

This news more than likely comes as a shock to…

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