The American company Lockheed Martin demonstrated a 3D model of the hypersonic ground weapon system OpFires (Operational Fires) under development. A promising development will need to occupy a niche between short and long range hypersonic missile weapons.
Lockheed Martin is working on the project with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The OpFires ground complex shall contain a hypersonic glider unit. It will be used by the US Army. Work on the complex began in 2017. Initially, the goal was to create a hypersonic complex with a range of up to 500 km, so that it would not fall under the Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missile Elimination Treaty. But after the United States entered the INF Treaty, the scope of the complex may have been increased, although this has not been officially reported.
OpFires is an innovative ground system. Its hypersonic aerodynamic units are capable of penetrating the enemy zone, protected by modern air defense (AA), and striking important targets with impunity. At the same time, the high-speed data of the rocket is currently not being disclosed. But remember that the class of hypersonic weapons includes & nbsp; missiles capable of speeds greater than or equal to Mach five or 6,120 km/h.
The main goal of DARPA at this point is to develop a 'strangled' rocket engine. Basically, we're talking about an engine that can be 'turned off' at will, without waiting for all the fuel to run out. Thus, modern solid propellant rocket engines cannot stop the process of fuel combustion, making it difficult to hit targets closer to the maximum range of the rocket. In theory, it is possible to redirect the missile to the target prematurely, but this will create overloads that can lead to its destruction.
It is reported that the proven electronics of the HIMARS highly mobile artillery missile system are used to create the system. OpFires should be placed on a versatile five-axle PLS chassis. The launcher will carry three hypersonic glider missiles. It is planned to use a combat stage of an AGM-183A ARRW missile as a warhead carrier.
Earlier this year, an agreement was signed between the US Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin create a mobile hypersonic missile launcher. This is the third contract under the program called OpFires, its size is $ 59 million. According to DARPA plans, the completed project is expected to be reviewed at the end of this year, after which assembly of the prototype will begin. Flight testing of the rocket is expected to begin in 2022, and receive a full-fledged complex, ready for adoption, in 8 to 10 years.
Source of information: https: //defense-blog. en