Northrop and Raytheon Win Key US Hypersonic Defense Contracts | Investment News


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Raytheon Technologies Co and Northrop Grumman Corp have won U.S. contracts to continue developing missiles to intercept hypersonic weapons, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The decision means Lockheed Martin Co., America’s No. 1 defense contractor, which was also competing for a contract, has been eliminated from the multi-billion dollar program for now, but could be withdrawn at some point. later.

In November, the three companies won separate contracts totaling about $60 million to develop an interceptor guided by a constellation of satellites and sensors to intercept a hypersonic missile in Earth’s atmosphere as it glides toward its target.

The contracts will reduce the number of companies developing the systems to just two.

As with any defense contract, companies that did not win have the right to challenge the decision.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded a contract of up to $62 million to Raytheon and up to $60 million to Northrup for each company to continue developing hypersonic weapons interceptors.

Hypersonic weapons are capable of flying at speeds five times the speed of sound and can maneuver in midair, making tracking them difficult.

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicated that MDA’s internal cost estimates for an interception system ranged from $3.7 billion to $4.2 billion with accelerated funding.

Congress’s 2023 defense budget proposal includes funds to accelerate program development, but that bill has not yet been finalized.

The GAO report recommended that the MDA obtain independent cost and technology assessments for the interceptor.

(Reporting by Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Deepa Babington and Alistair Bell)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.


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