Lockheed Martin has won a huge contract worth $928 million to build an air-launched hypersonic conventional strike missiles for the US Air Force that are five times faster than the normal speed of sound according to a statement from Pentagon.
The deal comprise of designing, developing, engineering, testing systems, planning for logistics and other support services needed for creation of undisclosed number of hypersonic top weapons. Lockheed Martin will develop and assemble the weapons at its plant in the northern Alabama city of Huntsville, a popular city for rocket systems.
The US military generally rely on the hypersonic weapons since they are the most advanced anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems to counteract its enemies. The US plans to secure tough missiles as it prepares to face the nuclear warheads.
Lockheed Martin is also planning to create a hypersonic unmanned aircraft known as SR-72, which is basically designed to fly at a speed that is six times the speed of the sound. The SR-72 is expected to be complete by 2030.
With hypersonic missiles, the military expects to transform its ability to prevent and deal with conflicts by enabling its war fighters to instantly detect and address threats before they are thwarted by its enemies or counterparts.
The move comes after Russia and China issued warnings recently that they are developing a hypersonic missile to cut through the US missile defenses. The cost of building the US own missiles is estimated to cost more than $1 billion.
The project is the second largest efforts of the US to enhance its military weapons in the recent past. The first project is the existing partnership of the Air Force and DARPA in the program known as Tactical Boost Glide that builds advanced prototypes to be incorporated later in the US military jets.
The US is highly aware of the capabilities of its development rivals including Russia and China who have publicly disclosed their developed and tested hypersonic missiles for conventional strikes.
Lockheed Martin focuses on building state-of-the-art hypersonic aircrafts and other weaponry technologies and the recent deal is a great milestone for the company that has shown a interest in developing advanced military weapons. The Defense Department is planning to protect its nation from the other hypersonic weapons that punch through its current vulnerable missile defense systems.