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US Navy selects Lockheed Martin to build US$2 billion hypersonic strike capability

The U.S. Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a contract worth more than US$2 billion, if all options are exercised, to integrate the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) weapon system onto ZUMWALT-class guided missile destroyers (DDGs). The CPS will enter service during the mid-2020s, says the company.

CPS is a hypersonic boost-glide weapon system that enables long range missile flight at speeds greater than Mach 5, with high survivability against enemy defences.

“Early design work is already underway,” said Steve Layne, vice president of Hypersonic Strike Weapon Systems at Lockheed Martin.

Under this contract, prime contractor Lockheed Martin will provide launcher systems, weapon control, All Up Rounds (AURs) and platform integration support for this naval platform. The company, along with industry partners including subcontractors Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics Mission Systems, is on track to provide the CPS surface-launched, sea-based hypersonic strike capability to sailors by the mid-2020s. The contract also provides for additional AURs plus canisters for the U.S. Army’s Long Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) testing, training and tactical employment.

The LRHW has a reported maximum speed of Mach 17, a range of more than 2775km and is scheduled to enter service this calendar year. CPS shares a common AUR with the Army LRHW and can be launched from multiple platforms including surface ships, submarines, and land-based mobile launchers.

Lockheed Martin is the prime systems integrator for the CPS and LRHW weapon systems. The company leads a team of industry, government, and academic partners to make critical progress in design and development to meet this urgent warfighter need in both land and sea domains.

Hypersonic vehicles or hypersonic missiles can travel faster than five times the speed of sound and are highly manoeuverable. The combination of the CPS capability, and the stealth and mobility of the ZUMWALT-class destroyer, will provide the nation’s first sea-based hypersonic strike capability.

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