Hypersonic Propulsion System Manufacturing
Northrop Grumman has opened a Hypersonics Capability Center (HCC) in Elkton, Maryland to produce advanced propulsion solutions that can power hypersonic missiles beyond Mach 5. The company describes the facility as a “factory of the future” designed for large-scale manufacturing of air-breathing propulsion which includes ramjet and scramjet propulsion.
“This a pivotal moment for hypersonics weapons; we have moved beyond building and demonstrating propulsion prototypes to large-scale manufacturing. Our proactive investment in this facility establishes the supply chain and optimizes manufacturing processes to produce hypersonic systems affordably at scale,” said Jim Kalberer, Vice President, Missile Products, Northrop Grumman.
The facility will support the development of the U.S. Air Force’s Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile and has capacity to support future hypersonic systems work from across DoD. One of the ongoing hypersonic development projects Northrop is working on is the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM).
In October 2022, Northrop and Raytheon were selected by the U.S. Air Force to develop HACM as an air-breathing, scramjet powered munition. Scramjet engines use high vehicle speed to forcibly compress incoming air before combustion, which enables sustained flight at hypersonic speeds – Mach 5 or greater.
The company is also investing in a new missile integration facility at Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in West Virginia for production of advanced defense and strike missiles, as well as expanding and optimizing solid rocket motor production at its facility in Promontory, Utah.