U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin Complete Another Successful Hypersonics Test
https://news.lockheedmartin.com/news-re ... tem=128963
https://www.facebook.com/EdwardsAirForc ... &__tn__=-R
Defense Acquisitions Annual Assessment:
Drive to Deliver Capabilities Faster Increases Importance of Program Knowledge and Consistent Data for Oversight
GAO-20-439: Published: Jun 3, 2020. Publicly Released: Jun 3, 2020.
Program Background and Expected Results
The Air Force initiated ARRW as a middle-tier acquisition in May 2018 with an objective to complete prototyping by September 2022. In August 2018, the program awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for design, development, and demonstration work. Program officials stated that they plan to deliver eight hypersonic missiles: four to conduct flight tests and four spares. Specifically, ARRW plans to develop an operational prototype with solid-fuel booster, ordnance package, and specialized equipment to enable it to be carried on the B-52H.
Since program initiation, the Air Force has updated its cost estimate and completed the remaining business case elements. In March 2019, the program increased its cost assessment to reflect changing program circumstances and reported a 39 percent increase in total costs.
Further, slips to key milestones have continued to occur. For example, the program currently plans to hold a critical design review in February 2020 and the first flight test in October 2021, representing schedule slips from the new baseline of 3 months and 5 months, respectively. A schedule analysis the program conducted in July 2019 shows that these and other schedule slips have cascaded through the program, such that the third and fourth flight tests are now both scheduled for the same month, May 2022, making lessons learned in the third test difficult to apply to the fourth.
The program has identified two critical technologies, both related to materials capable of withstanding the extreme temperatures experienced by objects moving through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. The program stated that technology risk was assessed during its preliminary design review in March 2019, although there has not been an independent assessment completed for either technology. The program office estimates that both of these technologies were immature at program start but that one is currently approaching maturity. The program office plans for both technologies to be mature by the program’s end.
The program office also said that the planned fourth ARRW flight test is no longer scheduled for May 2022, but will now be conducted in September 2022.
Hypersonic Conventional Strike Weapon (HCSW)
The Air Force’s HCSW, a middle-tier acquisition program, is developing a conventional air-launched hypersonic missile that can be carried on the wing of a B-52H bomber and move at least five times the speed of sound. HCSW is intended to provide capability to strike time-critical, fixed soft surface targets in a contested environment. To speed up prototyping and fielding, the program is leveraging existing technology developed from previous hypersonic prototypes—including a hypersonic glide body and payload—and seeks to mature it. The Air Force indicated plans to cancel HCSW as of March 2020 after the critical design review.
Program Background and Expected Results
The Air Force initiated HCSW in May 2017 and designated HCSW as a middle-tier rapid prototyping acquisition in May 2018 with an objective to complete prototyping by January 2022. To accelerate the completion of HCSW’s development, the Air Force directed the program to use DOD’sConventional Prompt Strike glide body—already in development—to produce an early operational hypersonic capability to counter hypersonic adversarial threats. Officials report that in May 2018, the Air Force awarded a development contract to Lockheed Martin Corporation to design, develop, integrate, test, and operationally qualify the HCSW missile. The Air Force intended for HCSW’s first increment prototype to demonstrate an initial operational hypersonic capability with the potential for successive efforts to increase capability in later increments.
At the completion of the rapid prototyping effort, the Air Force planned to begin initial production using the middle-tier rapid fielding pathway. In February 2020, the Air Force indicated its plans to cancel HCSW and keep a second hypersonic weapon prototyping effort due to budget pressures. We included this assessment in our review because the program’s funding and initiation decisions were made during our review period.
The HCSW program identified the need to mature two key program technologies during integration and flight testing, which was scheduled to start in June 2020. These technologies were derived from other efforts in DOD and the Air Force. The HCSW program reported the first technology is a hypersonic payload delivery vehicle — the warhead — that will reach maturity once it is launched from a B-52H. The second technology for a variant of a solid rocket propellant is also immature, but the program office plans for it to reach maturity after a ground static fire test and launch from a B-52H.
https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-20-439The program office said that the critical design review was held in March 2020 and that at the time the program was cancelled, the program was on schedule to deliver a limited capability in fiscal year 2022.