Pentagon selects Northrop, Lockheed and Raytheon to develop hypersonic defenses


WASHINGTON, Nov. 19 (Reuters) – The Pentagon announced Friday that it has selected Northrop Grumman (NOC.N), Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Raytheon (RTX.N) to research and test a missile system develop that would be able to defend US against a hypersonic weapon attack.

The three companies received separate contracts totaling approximately $ 60 million to develop a sliding phase interceptor, controlled by a constellation of satellites and sensors, to intercept a hypersonic missile in the Earth’s atmosphere as it heads towards its target.

The Missile Defense Agency’s 2022 budget is $ 136 million for research, development, testing, and evaluation of the interceptor, but the program will ultimately generate billions of dollars in revenue for defense companies.

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The United States and its global rivals have stepped up their efforts to build hypersonic weapons – the next generation of weapons that fly at high speed. As a result, hypersonic weapons require faster defense and new systems to defeat them. Continue reading

Often times the Pentagon holds competitions for arms or defense contracts in order to get the highest quality product at the lowest price for the taxpayer. Many of the competitions are staggered so the technology can mature and inferior offers are sorted out along the way.

Earlier this fall, a defense official said the missile defense agency was working with industry and hoping to win awards by the end of the calendar year.

There was widespread expectation that the Missile Defense Agency would select two companies to proceed. The addition of a third competitor underscores the Missile Defense Agency’s desire to incentivize industry to conduct research and development into this new class of weapons.

Weapons makers Lockheed Martin Corp, Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N), and Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) all touted their hypersonic weapons programs at the top of their quarterly profit calls recently as an expected source of profit for the future.

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Reporting by Mike Stone, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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