US Navy Screaming Arrow Hypersonic Program

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The US Navy has (re) launched (August 2021) the Screaming Arrow prototyping effort after withdrawing the prior outreach to industry back in March. Wanted to start a dedicated thread to discuss what the Navy is asking for here since they have provided a notional set of requirements and are preparing to start the early phases of the program in early 2022. The Navy seems to be looking at an Air Launched scramjet powered weapon with an AUR weight well below 3,000 lbs.

The SCREAMING ARROW Innovative Naval Prototype (INP) program is funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) starting in Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22). The objective is to demonstrate an aircraft carrier (CVN) compliant, air-launch, of an air-breathing propulsion controlled test vehicle (CTV) (cruiser, inter stage and booster) that is compatible with an F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. Successful demonstration(s) – likely three CTV launches – will culminate in the CTV captive carriage, CTV air launch separation, CTV controlled flight, CTV-booster ignition, CTV-booster operation, CTV separation (cruiser from booster), cruiser controlled flight, cruiser engine start, cruiser accelerates to cruise condition, cruiser at cruise condition, cruiser turndown, cruiser terminal phase flight trajectory and cruiser flight impact.

The programmatic approach is to leverage previous and current hypersonic air-vehicle/ propulsion developments by government agencies and defense industry contractors. The specific technology approach chosen shall be selected based upon cost, schedule, and analysis of meeting a series of maturation criteria, which include key kinematic and physical characteristics, critical component maturity validated through tests, and concept design compatibility with CVN and F/A-18E/F usage.
Within both the Navy and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) there is a desire to field a near term hypersonic weapon system. This potentiality invites enlarging the scope to consider a strategy and program structure that goes beyond the current mandate of controlled flight vehicle demonstration to the potential of becoming an on-ramp to a future weapon. Taking a broader view of the landscape, this programmatic approach considers other factors, such as development, production and Life Cycle Cost.
 

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Screaming Arrow is a hypersonic weapon prototype. So scramjet powered which means it likely will adapt either of the two engines that DARPA/AFRL have matured under HAWC. HAWC being about 20 ft long is too big for the Navy. Navy wants designed that are mature enough to do flight demonstrations off of F/A-18's within four years of phase 1 contract awards so this appears that it is not too far out from the Air Force's HACM effort which may be running 2-3 years ahead given that it is likely to be a lot closer to HAWC than the Navy's SA's.
 

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Screaming Arrow is a hypersonic weapon prototype. So scramjet powered which means it likely will adapt the two engines that DARPA/AFRL have matured under HAWC. HAWC being about 20 ft long is too big for the Navy. Navy wants designed that are mature enough to do flight demonstrations off of F/A-18's within four years of phase 1 contract awards so this appears that it is not too far out from the Air Force's HACM effort which may be running 2-3 years ahead given that it is likely to be a lot closer to HAWC than the Navy's SA's.
So the USN wants to build a missile that is too big for it to use? What? :confused: BTW ASALM reached hypersonic speed (Mach 5.4) with a ramjet.
 

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Screaming Arrow is a hypersonic weapon prototype. So scramjet powered which means it likely will adapt the two engines that DARPA/AFRL have matured under HAWC. HAWC being about 20 ft long is too big for the Navy. Navy wants designed that are mature enough to do flight demonstrations off of F/A-18's within four years of phase 1 contract awards so this appears that it is not too far out from the Air Force's HACM effort which may be running 2-3 years ahead given that it is likely to be a lot closer to HAWC than the Navy's SA's.
So the USN wants to build a missile that is too big for it to use? What? :confused: BTW ASALM reached hypersonic speed (Mach 5.4) with a ramjet.

The Navy wants a missile to work on its CVN's and strike fighters and has been investing in ways to get to that solution. HAWC is longer but then the Navy isn't talking about buying it but that that doesn't rule out primes from proposing engines developed and tested under HAWC. I bet at least one of the proposals will offer a ramjet based weapon, but given the investment in scramjets over the last decade and the fact that multiple scramjet engines have now been matured to the flight demonstration phase, majority of the offers would be to build around those and look for higher hypersonic cruise speeds. I guess we'll soon find out but Boeing took a scramjet powered weapon concept to the recent SAS floor and others have been showing scramjet missile concepts off off navy fighters as well so..Now they have a program to provide for..Respond by the September deadline and possibly get on contract by early 2022.
 
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What limits munition length? The weapons elevators? If that's the case they could stage the booster and cruiser separately and join them on the deck. Not ideal obviously but it's that, take them up the aircraft elevators, or constrain the length to something you can actually use. (Then again, this is the USN we're talking about.)
 

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What limits munition length? The weapons elevators? If that's the case they could stage the booster and cruiser separately and join them on the deck. Not ideal obviously but it's that, take them up the aircraft elevators, or constrain the length to something you can actually use. (Then again, this is the USN we're talking about.)

That's right. HAWC and likely HACM (if it's mostly based on the HAWC) are in the 20 ft length range while the Navy has a not to exceed length that is closer to 15 ft. Navy has been working to see if it can modify the HAWC vehicle or booster to meet its needs but Screeming Arrow opens the aperture now to clean sheet Navy optimized proposals as well that can potentially reuse a lot of the stuff that HAWC has spent nearly a decade maturing.
 

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What capability does the Navy hope to get out of this over being ship based?

Why would Navy want a 2 or 4 SH loadout with Stand Off Hypersonic strike missiles? I would assume the same reason it wants other stand off air-launched systems - To make its strike fighters more effective, particularly over time as the SH find it increasingly difficult to penetrate airspace and employ some of their shorter ranged weapons. These weapons are also likely to be significantly cheaper than something like IR-CPS so the Navy can field more of them. And they don't take up room inside a VLS. cell.

The Navy, this year decided to get back into the JASSM program. If it can field a 500 mile subsonic SO weapon on the SH by mid 2020's, and a similar ranged hypersonic weapon by the late 2020's / early 2030's then that is quite a significant leap in capability. It will be a couple of decades before Navy's NGAD replaces the hundreds of fielded Super Hornets and this type of stand off capability will provide the Navy with a lot of options. Fielding similar capability on surface ships would require a longer ranged weapon (maybe 2 to 3x the AL weapon's range due to distances involved) which adds cost and complexity.
 
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What capability does the Navy hope to get out of this over being ship based?

Why would Navy want a 2 or 4 SH loadout with Stand Off Hypersonic strike missiles? I would assume the same reason it wants other stand off air-launched systems - To make its strike fighters more effective, particularly over time as the SH find it increasingly difficult to penetrate airspace and employ some of their shorter ranged weapons. These weapons are also likely to be significantly cheaper than something like IR-CPS so the Navy can field more of them. And they don't take up room inside a VLS. cell.

The Navy, this year decided to get back into the JASSM program. If it can field a 500 mile subsonic SO weapon on the SH by mid 2020's, and a similar ranged hypersonic weapon by the late 2020's / early 2030's then that is quite a significant leap in capability. It will be a couple of decades before Navy's NGAD replaces the hundreds of fielded Super Hornets and this type of stand off capability will provide the Navy with a lot of options. Fielding similar capability on surface ships would require a longer ranged weapon (maybe 2 to 3x the AL weapon's range due to distances involved) which adds cost and complexity.
I don't necessarily believe complexity is a major hurdle to accommodate a ship-based LRHW, but cost sure. How much does it cost to design, store, transport, and load a new specialized missile that is specifically designed to be carried by the SH, as well as the sortie to potentially deliver it, as opposed to modifying a booster or ship's weapons hull to accommodate a larger or longer missile for add'l stand-off range?

I guess I'm not understanding the value that the SH would provide as a delivery vehicle for hypersonic weapons. I believe the would be very limited applications for it with very limited benefit. I'd be more in support of the F-35 carrying it if it can keep a LO profile.
 

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Complexity is ABSOLUTELY a major hurdle with LRHW integration. All but 3 Navy destroyers can currently accommodate it. Even they can't without some major rework. One of them is expected to have its non-working guns ripped out and have 12 missiles added to it. The other two don't yet have a schedule as far as I can tell. None of the DDG-51's currently in the water can accommodate the LRHW. None currently under construction or under contract destroyers can accommodate the LRHW. You want to rip out the MK41 and fit something larger? The Navy doesn't know what that looks like and even if it had one in the form of a prototype, it would be 15 years minimum before a substantial number of ships are modified (once the VL system itself is fully certified and production ready). The future LSC won't operationally deploy till the mid to late 2030's and it will be till the 2040 timeframe that the Navy has enough of them (if it runs a good program).

Now assuming that the navy can develop and certify a new large diameter VLS, that is capable of accommodating the LRHW, and at a snap of a finger engineer it into existing ships it still has to contend with the LRHW-IRCPS high cost. The Navy is looking at a production rate of about 2 dozen missiles a year and an APUC north of $30 Million by some estimates.

So this would then mean that the Navy would have to design a totally new weapon. The problem is that to replace a 500 mile ranged (notional) air-launched weapon, and to be able to hold similar targets at risk using forward deployed air-based assets for ISR, you need a ship based weapon that will likely have to have more than triple the range. You are basically looking at a hypersonic TLAM at that point. Now what if the Navy is interested in time critical strike? To be able to complete the kill chain in the same amount of time with a weapon that must travel 3 times farther, you need it to be three times faster. This basically means trading a Screaming Arrow for IR-CPS like capability which will could end up costing 4-5 times more per round (not to mention you are limited by the VL cell count and ship availability). The Navy has hundreds of strike fighters and plans to keep the 11 CVN's. To be able to have the SH be the SO strike provider to penetrating F-35C's and NGAD's is going to be a major boost in capability. Surface launched fires won't be able to compete on either cost. This is the same with subsonic weapons and why the Navy is finally coming to its senses and fielding the JASSM-ER on the Super Hornet. The Rhino is going to be around for decades and the Navy needs it to contribute as the F-35C and NGAD begin to take over some of the harder missions.

An IWB compliant hypersonic capability for the F-35C would be nice but likely puts too much constraints on the weapon. AARGM-ER and similar weapons with both higher speeds and extending range seem to be good and cost effective IWB compliant solutions for the F-35C and later the NGAD.
 
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Complexity is ABSOLUTELY a major hurdle with LRHW integration. All but 3 Navy destroyers can currently accommodate it. Even they can't without some major rework. One of them is expected to have its non-working guns ripped out and have 12 missiles added to it. The other two don't yet have a schedule as far as I can tell. None of the DDG-51's currently in the water can accommodate the LRHW. None currently under construction or under contract destroyers can accommodate the LRHW. You want to rip out the MK41 and fit something larger? The Navy doesn't know what that looks like and even if it had one in the form of a prototype, it would be 15 years minimum before a substantial number of ships are modified (once the VL system itself is fully certified and production ready). The future LSC won't operationally deploy till the mid to late 2030's and it will be till the 2040 timeframe that the Navy has enough of them (if it runs a good program).

Now assuming that the navy can develop and certify a new large diameter VLS, that is capable of accommodating the LRHW, and at a snap of a finger engineer it into existing ships it still has to contend with the LRHW-IRCPS high cost. The Navy is looking at a production rate of about 2 dozen missiles a year and an APUC north of $30 Million by some estimates.

So this would then mean that the Navy would have to design a totally new weapon. The problem is that to replace a 500 mile ranged (notional) air-launched weapon, and to be able to hold similar targets at risk using forward deployed air-based assets for ISR, you need a ship based weapon that will likely have to have more than triple the range. You are basically looking at a hypersonic TLAM at that point. Now what if the Navy is interested in time critical strike? To be able to complete the kill chain in the same amount of time with a weapon that must travel 3 times farther, you need it to be three times faster. This basically means trading a Screaming Arrow for IR-CPS like capability which will could end up costing 4-5 times more per round (not to mention you are limited by the VL cell count and ship availability). The Navy has hundreds of strike fighters and plans to keep the 11 CVN's. To be able to have the SH be the SO strike provider to penetrating F-35C's and NGAD's is going to be a major boost in capability. Surface launched fires won't be able to compete on either cost. This is the same with subsonic weapons and why the Navy is finally coming to its senses and fielding the JASSM-ER on the Super Hornet. The Rhino is going to be around for decades and the Navy needs it to contribute as the F-35C and NGAD begin to take over some of the harder missions.

An IWB compliant hypersonic capability for the F-35C would be nice but likely puts too much constraints on the weapon. AARGM-ER and similar weapons with both higher speeds and extending range seem to be good and cost effective IWB compliant solutions for the F-35C and later the NGAD.
I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

Do you believe hypersonic weapons of that nature will be limited to targets of strategic priority or tactical priority?

If you want a time critical strike capability, a SH(s) still has to be launched to carry and fire a hypersonic missile(s). Will the SH(s) be in a holding pattern, waiting for the call to strike? If so, then the proximity to the target provides a benefit. But if not, then the speed and travel of the ship-based hypersonic missile will outpace the sudden launch of a SH and provide a faster reaction time.

Going further, what is the nature of the target? Is it going to be used for mudhuts or legitimate C2 targets? That changes the application of the SH in the equation due to the possible threats and detection. If an air-assault is required, USAF assets like the B-1, B-2, & B-52 provide perfect air-launched platforms due to the magazine size.

The Navy has traditionally enjoyed the capability of launching ship-based missiles to attack targets, I think the scope of application needs to be defined for the SH and where the benefit is. I don't believe it would be as nearly difficult to accommodate hypersonic weapons on Navy ships as you make it out to be, they don't even have to be internalized. The modular container-esque design philosophy of some of these new weapon systems provides a more plug & play feature that can be enjoyed by all services thanks to the efforts for continued joint integration of systems.

It's like the discussion about the F-15 as a hypersonic launch platform, the application is limited and can be argued for & against depending on the nature of the target.
 

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I guess I'm not understanding the value that the SH would provide as a delivery vehicle for hypersonic weapons. I believe the would be very limited applications for it with very limited benefit. I'd be more in support of the F-35 carrying it if it can keep a LO profile.
You will love what Russia is developing: mini Kinzhal that can fit inside Su-57 WB. Mach 10 missile launched from less than 100 km is terrifying
I heard they are developing internal scramjet weapon for Su-57 too
When it come to hypersonic weapon, they are second to none
 
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If you want a time critical strike capability, a SH(s) still has to be launched to carry and fire a hypersonic missile(s). Will the SH(s) be in a holding pattern, waiting for the call to strike? If so, then the proximity to the target provides a benefit. But if not, then the speed and travel of the ship-based hypersonic missile will outpace the sudden launch of a SH and provide a faster reaction time.

Yes and Yes. The idea would be to use the evolving carrier air wing to defeat some of the most well protected targets, by either targeting the A2AD capability, or attacking targets despite of its presence. Idea would be to use the stand in force (mainly F-35C's for the Navy until NGAD begins to show up) and backing that up with a Stand Off force (Growlers and SH's). The advantage of the former is the sensor system, survivability, and the ability to launch cheaper munitions from closer. Limitation is the magazine size and that the navy won't have more than 14 F-35C's in each wing. Even when NGAD shows up, SH will still continue to dominate numerically for at least the next 15 or so years if not longer.

Advantages of the SH and Growler are numbers. They can bring capacity because they constitute majority of the air-wing. Limitations are the inability (and increasingly so) to penetrate sophisticated IADS in the future. Navy's connectivity can help out in that the penetrating force not only attacks targets, but also provides near real time input to allow the stand off force to contribute from afar. There is a reason why the Navy now suddenly wants to add the JASSM-ER on the Rhino for the second half of the life of that platform. JASSM-ER while provides them the SO capability, takes too long to get there and future kill chains may not support that. A quick reaction weapon that has the legs, and the speed can really help here. It will be shorter ranged, and significantly cheaper than what the Navy can hope to put on a surface ship, and it will allow the Navy's air-wing to be a relevant player in the post 2030 fight instead of only having a fraction of the fleet being capable of fighting the high end fight.

If you envision a scenario where we want to defeat a target that we've just found then yes, launching an AC from a carrier, waiting for it to reach its intended launch point, and then launching a 500 mile Mach 5 weapon would be much slower than launching a 2000 km ranged hypersonic weapon from a submarine assuming that the sub or that Zumwalt happens to be at the right place at the right time and with the right weapon. But that isn't the only time-critical / quick response strike that may be needed in the future. A high speed JASSM-ER analogous has extreme merit and there is good reason that the Navy is now following the USAF's HACM in creating a program that gets them that capability. It will be much more affordable to buy than the larger longer ranged hypersonic weapons, or even the TBG systems like the ARRW.

I'd guess that a 500 mile scramjet cruise missile can be had the range of $5 Million per round or roughly half of what the ARRW AUR with about 2x the range is expected to cost. IR-CPS/LRHW in contrast will cost north of $30 Million per round. Lower cost options open up a lot more targets against which you can use these weapons so missions outside of time-critical strike like using one or two HACM's to defeat defended targets that may have required 2-3 times more JASSM rounds. Setting cost equation aside, this now means fewer platforms (armed with HACM/SA) can now hold targets at risk compared to if the only AL-SO option available was the JASSM. That has significant cost imposition on an opponent. The opponent knows that you don't necessarily need to amass a very larger force to make its life a lot more difficult.

IR-CPS / LRHW is not the type of weapon that gets you a very large hypersonic inventory. Its performance, size and cost basically means that it will be produced in the low to mid hundreds at best. ARRW too, with its 1,000 mile range and $10 Million AUR cost is not the type of weapon that will exist in the thousands. Get to half that (half the cost, half the range, but still Mach 5+ speed) and you can get a weapon that you can produce in the thousands. If the AF and Navy plan on fielding an inventory of 10,000+ JASSM/LRASM's, then there is no reason why we can't have an inventory of 2-3K HACM/Screaming Arrow's. That's a major boost for the tactical fleet and even bombers that can get close to about 500 miles of the target. If HACM/SA end up being B-21 IWB compliant then that is really a giant leap in capability which will not be easy to counter. And that frees up the Navy's VLS for other weapons that can support missions where the air wing may not be as well suited. For example, IR prompt strike will be difficult to support using the SH because as you rightly point out you can't have SH's in orbit all the time. For that mission, a $30 Million IR-CPS may well be worth it. But there may be several use cases for an Anti IADS capability, or a quick reaction strike capability that doesn't require a 3,000 km Mach 10+ IR-CPS weapon with its huge price tag. That tactical level of capability is what HACM and Screaming Arrow need to go at.

I don't believe it would be as nearly difficult to accommodate hypersonic weapons on Navy ships as you make it out to be, they don't even have to be internalized. The modular container-esque design philosophy of some of these new weapon systems provides a more plug & play feature that can be enjoyed by all services thanks to the efforts for continued joint integration of systems.

Hope you appreciate that the Navy's only (current) hypersonic weapon is 34.5 inches in diameter, weighs more than 10,000 lbs. and costs upwards of $30 million a pop as per some estimates.
 
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How many air launched scramjet weapon program are there?. And what are their expected IOC date?

On the unclassified side there is just one that is funded in the FY-22 USAF budget request. It kicks off next year and the USAF expects to have completed its CDR within 12 months of launching the program which suggests they are borrowing the scramjet engine, and most of the design elements that they've spent a lot of time developing and maturing under the HAWC program. No additional details are provided on that program and likely won't be until the FY-23 budget request is released next year.

If they stick with the aggressive timelines they've followed for ARRW, LRHW etc then you can expect FY-23 CDR completion (currently planned for the third quarter) and an early operational capability around 2025-2026. So ARRW gets fielded in FY-23 ish, and then HACM follows 3 or so years behind if all goes to plan. We won't know more until this time next year.

But there quite a bit more scramjet activity happening within various agencies including engine testing of a 13,000+ lb thrust class scramjet engines which both Northrop and Aerojet have now tested. There are likely to be plans to begin flying that so the next 3-4 years would be interesting on the scramjet side of things which could lead to 2-3 different sized vehicles emerge for different applications. But as far as a formal unclassified program is concerned, only the USAF has decided to transition its R&D efforts into a formal weapons development and procurement effort with HACM. Navy appears to be following them and based on what it gets from the Screaming Arrow and other efforts it too can have a Navy optimized cruise missile before the end of the decade. On the procurement side the thrust right now is to buy the LRHW and IR-CPS for the Navy and Army and begining equipping operational units in the next 2 years. The AF begins to start production of ARRW next year so these three are the most urgent priorities in terms of starting production and begin fielding.
 

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How many air launched scramjet weapon program are there?. And what are their expected IOC date?

On the unclassified side there is just one that is funded in the FY-22 USAF budget request. It kicks off next year and the USAF expects to have completed its CDR within 12 months of launching the program which suggests they are borrowing the scramjet engine, and most of the design elements that they've spent a lot of time developing and maturing under the HAWC program. No additional details are provided on that program and likely won't be until the FY-23 budget request is released next year.
You are talking about HACM?. And pardon my lack of acronym knowledge but what is CDR?
 

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How many air launched scramjet weapon program are there?. And what are their expected IOC date?

On the unclassified side there is just one that is funded in the FY-22 USAF budget request. It kicks off next year and the USAF expects to have completed its CDR within 12 months of launching the program which suggests they are borrowing the scramjet engine, and most of the design elements that they've spent a lot of time developing and maturing under the HAWC program. No additional details are provided on that program and likely won't be until the FY-23 budget request is released next year.
You are talking about HACM?. And pardon my lack of acronym knowledge but what is CDR?
 

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There is a slight blurring of the lines between pure R&D and what the hypersonic programs were set up to do last decade. Unlike the X-43, or the X-51 programs, for example, both Tactical Boost Glide, and the HAWC programs were collaborative efforts b/w the USAF and DARPA's TTO that were supposed to be weapon concepts that could transition rapidly to meet in service needs (if those needs exist). That allow for fairly rapid transition from the R&D programs into formal weapon programs. ARRW was spun off the TBG in 2018 and they set a target of fielding it in about four years from when that occurred. HACM looks like its spinning off from the HAWC in FY-22 (so late 2021 / early 2022) so it too will likely have a compressed schedule. So not the traditional 8-10 year EMD efforts like we see on most traditional programs. These programs are dealing with a 3-5 year EMD phase and production beginning around halfway into that.

Beyond HAWC there are air-force investments in scramjet that have had very promising results. There are also longer term efforts that could make good use of these technologies but those aren't yet formal programs, on the unclassified side though there is good reason to suspect a fairly substantial classified investment happening in hypersonic technologies. There are efforts in the pipeline like Mayhem etc that will likely pick up some of these future oriented systems.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YJyBf8x83Q
 

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There is a slight blurring of the lines between pure R&D and what the hypersonic programs were set up to do last decade. Unlike the X-43, or the X-51 programs, for example, both Tactical Boost Glide, and the HAWC programs were collaborative efforts b/w the USAF and DARPA's TTO that were supposed to be weapon concepts that could transition rapidly to meet in service needs (if those needs exist). That allow for fairly rapid transition from the R&D programs into formal weapon programs. ARRW was spun off the TBG in 2018 and they set a target of fielding it in about four years from when that occurred. HACM looks like its spinning off from the HAWC in FY-22 (so late 2021 / early 2022) so it too will likely have a compressed schedule. So not the traditional 8-10 year EMD efforts like we see on most traditional programs. These programs are dealing with a 3-5 year EMD phase and production beginning around halfway into that.

Beyond HAWC there are air-force investments in scramjet that have had very promising results. There are also longer term efforts that could make good use of these technologies but those aren't yet formal programs, on the unclassified side though there is good reason to suspect a fairly substantial classified investment happening in hypersonic technologies. There are efforts in the pipeline like Mayhem etc that will likely pick up some of these future oriented systems.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YJyBf8x83Q
Is HACM the same as OASuW II ? or they are different program?
 

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Different programs. HACM is a US Air Force air-launched cruise missile program. OASuW II is more about US Navy's long term surface strike cruise missile need. HACM will likely be based on HAWC and thus not fit on Aircraft Carrier elevators (these have a 15 ft maximum length limitation). The Screaming Arrow prototyping effort will likely inform what characteristics OASuW II ends up possessing and they'll likely spin SA into OASuW II once they've demonstrated what they're looking to flight test.

The Air Force used HAWC as a stepping stone for HACM, and only after that demonstrated maturity did the USAF start a formal program to build an operational weapon around it. The Navy's Screaming Arrow effort is probably looking to do the same for OASuW II though thanks to DARPA/AFRL investments over the last decade the Navy can work on an accelerated schedule now that flight test vehicles already exist for the two scramjet motor designs.
 
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