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Friday, October 20, 2017

A very big Hypersonic Weapons: The Biggest Warfighting Disrupter Since Stealth Is Coming The most disruptive battlefield technology since the advent of stealth

The Pentagon awarded contracts last year for hypersonic test vehicles, and prototypes are expected in 2020. Later this year, a separate contract for a hypersonic strike weapon to be launched from fighters and bombers will be awarded to either Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOC), Boeing (BA), Raytheon (RTN), or Orbital ATK (OA), which is being bought by Northrop. Meanwhile, China and Russia are expected to field hypersonic weapons sometime next decade.

A Rand Corp. report last month highlighted the disruptive potential of hypersonic weapons, warning that even a relatively small hypersonic arsenal could threaten a major power's forward-projected forces, or even their homelands.

Deeper into the future, aircraft equipped with hypersonic technology could further disrupt warfighting or even commercial airspace. And outer space could become more accessible with hypersonic vehicles as more companies look to low-cost launch options.

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