DARPA Update on OpFires Hypersonic Missile Test

navy news Featured on the DARPA OpFires program here You can find detailed material on truck-mounted hypersonic missiles and their potential deployment here. navy news Readers can also keep up with the progress of various countries’ hypersonic missile programs here.

The DARPA OpFires project uses throttleable rocket motors on hypersonic missiles to achieve different ranges in flight. OpFires can therefore hit targets within a range envelope up to 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers). At Mach 5+, an OpFires warhead would allow him to fly 1,000 miles in about 20 minutes.

According to DARPA’s website for the first test launch of OpFires on July 13, 2022: “DARPA’s Operational Fires (OpFires) program successfully completed its first flight test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. It met all test objectives, including first use as a device, missile canister exit, stable flight capture, and use of the US Army Stock Fire Control System to initiate test missions. You have built and tested a system that includes a rocket motor.

“This test demonstrated the maturity of the integration technology for critical components such as the first stage rocket motor, missile canister, and missile round pallet (MRP), a cargo handling system available on USMC and Army Logistics Vehicles. Designed for use on , eliminating the need for a custom-built OpFires Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL).

“OpFires’ primary goal is to develop a ground-launched two-stage propulsion system capable of using hypersonic (more than five times the speed of sound) payloads from ubiquitous US military trucks (the Palletized Load System family of vehicles). Capable of penetrating modern air defense systems and striking time-critical targets with precision, OpFires is compatible with existing command and control, vehicles, logistics infrastructure and operational environments, enabling advanced It ensures great mobility and rapid deployment.”

DARPA spokesperson navy news Additional photo of a test launch at the White Sands Missile Range.

The DARPA OpFires hypersonic missile gains speed away from the USMC LVSR. Photo: DARPA

Dr. Michael Leahy, director of DARPA’s Office of Tactical Technologies, responded to Naval News’ follow-up questions about launch tests of the first OpFires hypersonic missile.

Navy News: How far did hypersonic missiles fly?
DARPA: The missile range for this test was intentionally limited to keep it within range. [the] WSMR [White Sands Missile Range] safe perimeter.

Navy News: Did the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army both participate in the test?

Navy News: How many missiles were launched and their hypersonic velocities?
This test was limited to a single missile.

Navy News: Missile dimensions and specifications for media (weight, dimensions, cost, payload, etc.)?
The OpFires missile system has the ability to carry a variety of payloads and the system (missile, canister, launcher) is [U.S.] Army M1075A1 PLS and USMC LVSR family of vehicles.

Navy News: Do missiles contain warheads or glide bodies and can attack moving sea and ground targets?
This test demonstrated the ability to successfully launch a full-scale OpFires missile from an LVSR. Our flight test plan calls for the next flight to include a payload simulator, and through a series of progressive flights we will fully test the boosters and payload.

Navy News: Is it possible to carry 3 hypersonic missiles on a USMC LVSR truck?
Shown in Lockheed graphics?
Lockheed Graphics is an artist’s conception of one possible system configuration.

Navy News: Any comments on how fast the kill chain web gets from time to boot?
This was not one of the purposes of the test.

Navy News: What other lessons did you learn from this test?
We are continuing to review the data and plan to incorporate our findings into the system’s critical design review in the fall.

Navy News and Author Comments

“The Marine Corps needs a long-range land-based anti-ship missile. Naval Strike Missiles are too short to achieve the operational effectiveness the Marine Corps desire. The challenge is cost. Hypervelocity missiles can be very expensive. Or traditional missiles such as the Tactical Tomahawk may be suitable for bulk purchases.”

Mark Cancian, retired Marine Corps Colonel, CSIS Senior Advisor

Interestingly, DARPA confirmed that the Lockheed Martin graphics (see below) are very similar to the OpFires USMC LVSR prototype setup. Even the rendering of the missile looks very similar to the actual missile fired at the White Sands Missile Range.

The US Marine Corps is also experimenting tactical tomahawk Fired from a Mark 41 VLS derivative of the trailer. One problem with air transport is that LVSRs do not fit inside a C-130 freighter, whereas Tomahawk trailers and MTVRs do if a prime mover is specified.

DARPA Update on OpFires Hypersonic Missile Test
A Lockheed Martin artist graphic showing an OpFires hypersonic missile being launched from a 10×10 wheeled truck looks very similar to the actual prototype. That means he could carry three missiles on his USMC LVSR, each with a speed of Mach 5+ and he had a 1,000-mile range. Graphics: Lockheed Martin DARPA Update on OpFires Hypersonic Missile Test

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