The United States Navy has awarded two contracts worth a total of $116 million to Raytheon Missiles and Defense and Lockheed Martin for the initial development of a carrier-suitable hypersonic missile system. The missile, called the Hypersonic Air Launched Offensive Anti-Surface (HALO), will provide the Navy with critical capability over the next decade to address advanced threats and operate in contested battle space.

The initial contracts to Raytheon and Lockheed Martin will provide technical maturation and development through preliminary design review of the propulsion system required for a carrier suitable hypersonic weapon system. The contract period for each award will end in December 2024 with each company’s preliminary design review working towards a prototype flight test.

HALO will be a carrier-based, high speed, long-range air-launched weapon that will provide greater anti-surface warfare capability than what is currently available. The program is part of the Navy’s Long Range Fires investment approach to meet objectives of the National Defense Strategy where hypersonic weapons are a top priority.

“As threat capability continues to advance, additional range, warfare capability and capacity is required to address the more demanding threat environment,” said Capt. Richard Gensley, Precision Strike Weapons (PMA-201) program manager. “Our team is leveraging science and technology and rapid prototyping arenas to support aggressive schedule execution.”

HALO’s predecessor, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM), is currently fielded on the Navy’s F/A-18 and Air Force B-1B. To bridge the gap until HALO is operational, the Navy recently funded an upgrade to the existing weapon which will incorporate missile hardware and software improvements to enhance targeting capabilities.

The Navy plans to pursue a competitive acquisition strategy leveraging LRASM requirements and concept of operations to meet future maritime threats beyond mid-2020s. Initial operational capability for HALO is planned to field late this decade.

“These contracts are the first of potentially additional development and production contracts based on initial designs and supplier performance that will inform Navy leadership on future program decisions,” said Gensley.

The HALO missile will allow the Navy to operate in and control contested battle space in littoral waters and anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) environments. As hypersonic weapons continue to be a top priority for the United States military, the Navy is investing in science, technology, and rapid prototyping to support the aggressive schedule execution required to meet the demands of the evolving threat environment.

The Navy’s investment in HALO represents a crucial step in maintaining military superiority in advanced warfare. As such, the Navy will continue to pursue innovative technologies and solutions to meet the demands of evolving threats in the maritime domain.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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