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Raytheon and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have completed the baseline design review for the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapons system, the company announced on 29 July. The system is a joint effort between DARPA and the US Air Force (USAF).

Establishing the company’s approach for a critical design review, moving the weapon system a step closer to development and operational use, the Tactical Boost Glide systems is intended to keep the US military ahead of the evolving threat envelope.

A boost glide weapon uses a rocket to accelerate its payload and achieve hypersonic speeds – velocities greater than Mach 5. During flight, the payload separates from the rocket and glides unpowered to its destination. The US military will use hypersonic weapons to engage from longer ranges with shorter response times and with greater effectiveness than current weapon systems.

In March, Raytheon received a $63.3 million (€56.9 million) contract from DARPA to pursue the programme.

We understand the urgency of the need and are working fast to deliver this advanced technology to our nation's military,” explained Raytheon Advanced Missile Systems Vice President, Dr Thomas Bussing. “The goal is to keep America ahead of emerging threats, and we are well on our way.”

Hypersonic weapons will enable attacks to be mounted from much greater standoff ranges, more rapidly and more effectively. (Image: Raytheon)

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