The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched an ambitious initiative to advance its Hypersonic Strike Capability, as detailed in a recent contract notice on the GOV.UK ‘Find a Tender’ service.

Published on December 8, 2023, under the reference 2023/S 000-036268, the notice details the “Hypersonic Technologies & Capability Development Framework”.

This framework, as stated in the notice, is “to accelerate development of the United Kingdom Hypersonic Strike Capability and to provide a route to market for future operational elements of hypersonic and adjacent technologies.” The initiative, estimated to be worth £1 billion and spanning up to seven years, is not just focused on developing advanced weaponry but also aims to “facilitate collaboration between MoD, industry, and academia.”

The procurement will cover a broad range of services and supplies across eight distinct lots. It includes “research, systems, components, technology, the provision of infrastructure, testing, and other related expertise and materials.” These will encompass both ‘functional components’ such as “propulsion systems, airframes, flight control computer systems, guidance systems and sensors” and ‘non-functional components’ like “test and evaluation, platform integration, academic research.”

The framework is designed to be flexible, allowing for the “periodic onboarding of new suppliers approximately every 6 to 12 months,” ensuring it remains relevant in a “fast changing political, technological and regulatory landscape.”

Here’s the description.

“As part of the Team Hypersonics (UK) delivery strategy, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) intends to establish a multi-supplier Hypersonic Technologies & Capability Development Framework Agreement (the Framework). The aim of the Framework is to accelerate development of the United Kingdom Hypersonic Strike Capability and to provide a route to market for future operational elements of hypersonic and adjacent technologies. The Framework will be used to facilitate collaboration between MoD, industry and academia to accelerate the acquisition of an advanced Hypersonic Strike Capability.

The nature of the procurement will involve the provision of services and supplies across 8 (eight) distinct lots. Descriptions of each of the lots are further identified within this notice and the draft Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents, accessible through the Defence Sourcing Portal (DSP). The Framework will be used to appoint suppliers to deliver services and supplies to support the research, development and testing of hypersonic technologies with varying Technical Readiness Levels (TRLs). The maturity of the services and supplies provided under the resulting Call Off contracts will be up to TRL 9.

Services and supplies to be procured through the Framework are likely to include, but will not be limited to research, systems, components, technology, the provision of infrastructure, testing and other related expertise and materials across two categories, ‘functional components’ and ‘non-functional components’. Functional components could include liquid propellants, solid propellants, propulsion systems, airframes, flight control computer systems, guidance systems and sensors, communications and data links systems, system and parts integration, physical flight control systems, warheads, power supply and distribution, battery, actuators (fin & thrust control), high temperature materials and seekers. Non-functional components could include test and evaluation, platform integration, academic research, system design authority, modelling and simulation, specialists, integrated solution, thermal management, infrastructure, mission planning, assurance.”

Applicants for the framework will also participate in a “Restricted” procurement process, initially responding to a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ), accessible through the Defence Sourcing Portal (DSP). Successful applicants will then be invited to the Invitation to Tender (ITT) stage.

The notice specifies that “Task orders under the Framework will be awarded as Call-Off contracts, either through a Mini-Competition or, in certain circumstances, through a Direct Award process.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also previously worked for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago

Great to be able to do this but can we knock out 1000 cheap drones a day ambling towards strategic targets?

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

No, and strangely they don’t seem to care.

Netking
Netking
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Can’t imagine a hypersonic weapon and a drone even remotely having the same target set. Whether or not a hypersonic weapon is worth it considering the cost is another question.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Netking

As this is effectively a study let’s be honest into potential, practicalities and options and then hopefully collaborations, it seems to me that something of this sort surely should have been set up nearly a decade ago to feed into any project that in reality is going to be predominantly realised through MBDA and will take many years to evaluate usable technologies and research and thereafter formulate into any specific firmed up project. Fine and dandy for the longer term future but probably going to have little input into what needs to get into development asap without extensive delays surely.… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Netking

The Russians seem to be happy to throw everything including the kitchen sink at Ukraine…I’m sure they could have the same target set, just different routes to destruction of the target.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Yes we can.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

We can design them just fine just need China to make them… oh shit.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark B

Well based on the latest equipment list published we only have 20 odd drones in total, so a fair bit short of your 1000.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago

Questions for someone, will these be ship, sub, land, or air launched? Will the UK join the US and Aus who I believe already have a joint hypersonic framework and make it an AUKUS venture? Will this be with Europe as an extension of FCASW? Good to have these type of weapons but you also need the defences against them being used against you too. As an aside, any further update on GBAD UK and the Aster/CAMM upgrades for the T45s?

Last edited 1 month ago by Quentin D63
Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

If this Hypersonic Missile sees the light of day, id say it would likely be Sub,Ship and Air Launched in that order of priority,a Land version would be a nice to have but not essential.The CAAM upgrade of the T45’s has started with HMS Defender,don’t expect to see her back at sea for 2 years id say.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul T
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Air launched is surely the priority, simply gives more flexibility, a sub launched missile will not be practical till the next Gen attack submarines and I suspect that might be part of the AUKUS agreement with a compatible strike missile. Air launched or ship launched we might hope for by the early thirties. Land launched would be part of that no doubt. Bit like CAAM and its and its air launched ASRAAM heritage becoming a sea and land based new missile.

Bruce Palmer
Bruce Palmer
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

2 years for Sea Ceptor addition?

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Bruce Palmer

No – 2 years for the PIP Upgrade,Radar Refurbishment and the Sea Ceptor Upgrade.

Bruce Palmer
Bruce Palmer
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Thanks. That makes more sense.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Yes. What exactly is fcasw? Details are still short…is it high supersonic/ sort of hypersonic….or is it subsonic…..or are there two versions? Should we be launching a swarm of relativly cheap high supersonic missiles (compared to I suspect a very expensive hypersonic one). AND are these hypersonic missiles just anti-ship…or…?
Someone here questioned the use of a hypersonic land attack missile as opposed to a decent volume of for instance Tomahawk or stormshadow.
MarkB. Indeed, build ’em cheap and pile ’em high.AA

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

It is supposed to be super but not hyper.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago

Two version likely with one being sub sonic with 1000km range and stealth with the other being high super sonic Mach 3+ but with 300km range.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Can you post the Information source of this please, I’d like to see what is being proposed.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Shepard had some recent update info apparently though little fundamentally new.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

FC/ASW has been revealed as Two different Weapons – a Subsonic Land Attack Cruise Missile replacement and a Supersonic Anti Ship Missile.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago

Already you need a lot of planning to make Storm shadow truly effective, you ideally need spoof missiles to fool defences and preferably substantial knowledge of air defences so you can avoid them, both of which Ukraine have exploited esp inside knowledge of Russian air defences through partisans and other means. Post 2030 will even an enhanced missile of this type without partisan support be effective other than in the large numbers we are unlikely to have available, or the aircraft to launch them in numbers. One Hypersonic at 3 times the cost might work out cheaper when balanced with… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Spyinthesky
Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

It will just be another one of the endless design studies the MOD does, like all the money we pissed up the wall on drones for twenty years then never actually built any.

Hypersonic weapons are a gimmick for third world dictators to show off.

20 year old storm shadows are currently obliterating S400 for a unit cost of less than $1 million.

Why would anyone want a $100 million missile. What could you possibly shoot at to justify the cost verses 100 sub sonic weapons.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Well, the drone business that made much progress and showed enormous promise, was folded into the much laundered Anglo French drone programme that was launched with huge fanfare and shaking of hands. The aim to create a joint family of drones from a ‘Euro Reaper’ to a very capable UCAV, before the whole thing was promptly and rather abruptly flushed down the toilet! It’s likely the last such fixed wing programme undertaken by the UK and France, our futures in competing camps. We seem to have let all drone ambitions go now as we concentrate on GCAP, unless BAE Systems… Read more »

John
John
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Common sense does not figure in many posts here sadly. Mass is more important. Russia has proved that. Don’t forget the MIC love this way of spending taxpayers money. Then coming up with zilch. Time and time again, adapting and using existing tried and tested proves this point. Whoever thought Storm Shadow would be launched from an SU 24?

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  John

There is also a lot to be said for stealth…high Mach missiles are by nature easy to spot…harder to intercept yes…but you have to spot something before you can intercept it and lower speed cruise missiles are harder to spot.

Marked
Marked
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Considering how good air defence systems are getting I question whether an extremely stealthy missile would be a better option than one that’s just very fast.

Perhaps one that cruises like a cruise missile until its close to being detectable before then using a rocket for a short high speed final burst to limit exposure time to defences.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Marked

S400 seems completely unable to deal with even a handful of storm shadows. You can get 100 sub sonic stealth missiles for the price of 1 Gucci. hypersonic one. I out my money in the stealthy ones winning the day.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

I’m not convinced you necessarily have your sums right there. I’m sure a hypersonic glide weapon would fit that cost but a missile with hypersonic speed would not be 100 times on anything like a subsonic or supersonic missile, after all a Starstreak is near hypersonic.

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Yet Patriot-3 has stopped the RF hypersonic missiles.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Marked

Yes an idea I fielded a few years back. Makes a lot of sense.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

But Jim, it will need Braid to drive the project… and a matching unCivil Serpent, and combined staff, not forgetting their pensions.

John Thomas
John Thomas
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

We can do this, but we can’t build or staff enough care home beds, etc?

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Excellent, timely questions. Believe this article is the narrative description of planned future British participation in the AUKUS Pillar II initiative re Hypersonics. No clue as to why it would not be identified as such. Possible political sensitivity? (Although, am at a loss to explain specific rationale .

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

…rationale.)…🙄

lonpfrb
lonpfrb
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

To the right of  Reply, the Manage Comment  has the Edit function for your convenience FYI.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Maybe the reported $100 million per missile price tag put them off, we can’t afford Lockheed prices any more. 😀

Lord Baddlesmere
Lord Baddlesmere
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

could always make it ourselves……

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I was thinking the same, perhaps they don’t want to be so clear cut and specific so as not to cut off at the knees potential European cooperation in the future. Only logical explanation I can think of, sensible to retain some semblance of keeping options open especially when you major missile producer is pan European, who knows the Perseus concept might be revived at some stage as technology matures.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Thanks, an eminently reasonable explanation. 😊👍

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Hit me too, how does this fit in with the AUKUS proposition. This country is only going to be able to commit to one hypersonic programme in the foreseeable future I suspect, so is this all part of being able offer up options for AUKUS which to be honest Visualised as pretty much letting Aus/UK share in US developments for the most part. Maybe that’s the idea initially go US with a long term move to being independent or Franco/British/Other most like. But then we are already working with France on a possible Hypersonic missile. All a little confusing on… Read more »

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago

We can’t afford the projects we have in our equipment plan as it is. And the sheer number of projects we have started, spent a fortune on and then cancelled could probably paper Whitehall. One of the most expensive things you can try and develop are hypersonic weapons. US, Russia and China are all well ahead in developing and testing at vast expense. Interestingly the French restarted theirs 5 years ago after actually being the world leaders in the 1970’s. Hate to say it but we do have a very long history of co development with France and maybe we… Read more »

Coll
Coll
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

TBH, I thought we were developing a hypersonic missile under AUKUS cooperation. Another means of psychological warfare is through outwitting the enemy with bureaucratic incompetence.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Coll

I’m not clear what the AUKUS programme is actually offering, I suspect it’s some involvement for UK/Aus in American developments and likely in relation to our submarines which makes sense. This may well have a connection to this but I suspect European cooperation may be sought in other hypersonic solutions. Really need UK, France, Germany and Italy to formulate their needs around a single solution or variations around it, for the sake of scale and cost.

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

The problem with all of these expensive programs is that they end up being just for a 2-4 week war and depending on intensity.
UK have no perene combat capability.since all equipment is in small quantities.
What capability have UK to attrite an enemy for 1 year?

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

If we are fighting an enemy for a year we did it very wrong. We retook the Falklands in 10 weeks, liberated Kuwait in 4 days and took over Iraq in less than a month. Who we fighting for a year? If it was Russia in a non nuclear scenario I doubt they would last more than a couple of months. If it’s China then other that a blockade and a possible scrape in the South China Sea it’s very physically difficult for us to engage with them and they with us unless they start invading Vietnam or South Korea.… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

If we are fighting an enemy for a year we did it very wrong. 

Any peer to peer combat risks ending in a stalemate.

Kuwait and Iraq without USA..really?
Falklands was a war that was won because Argentine incompetency was even bigger.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Why would we be fighting a pier conflict against China without the US?

Last edited 1 month ago by Jim
AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Fighting China will not be a peer conflict. China is much bigger.
That said imagine China threatening Australia and USA can’t or won’t do more that military support without troops on the ground?

Last edited 1 month ago by AlexS
Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

infact china believes it can even win a war with the US, not a short campaign but a war to strategic exhaustion….it’s hardened its economy, industrial capacity and population in a way the U.S. and west have not..and it thinks it can win in those domains.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

I don’t think China would try their luck with Vietnam again, they tried it in 1979, the aim to pour through the boarder at Lang Son and be threatening Hanoi inside a week, in order to make the Vietnamese withdraw from Cambodia…. They had absolute superiority in every area and we’re totally confident, the Vietnamese seriously kicked their arses, caused massive casualties and sent them limping back over the boarder with a bloody nose. They have long memories in SE Asia and I guarantee even today, China treats Vietnam with grudging respect,they would think long and hard before getting into… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim, china are planning the long war..they know the wests strength, the short war…but you cannot fight a short war against a near peer that is far away..that’s the war china will want to fight..we may wish a short. War but china will want the long drawn out conflict to strategic exhaustion as that’s the fight it thinks it can beat the US in. As for blocking china..you really need to read the next war by Babbage..he’s done all the data work and evidenced that china is and has hardered itself for a long drawn out conflict over years that… Read more »

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Operate major task groups in every ocean? I wonder how long they’d last in the Arctic or North Atlantic. Britain trying to stop china invading Taiwan would be like trying to stop us invading Ireland, if Ireland was heavily defended

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

To be honest the size and scope of the Chinese navy is very very scary…and they are hiding it not flashing it about, when people say china only has a green water navy that’s not true it has a very significant green water navy full of attrition units…but then it also have a huge blue water capability that it chooses not to use..for some reason. Where the RN and US are all over doing freedom of navigation deployments china does not. This is purposeful…everything china does, be it commercial, military, science or whatever it is all purposeful and at the… Read more »

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Very comprehensive reply, thanks Jonathan.
The only way the West can stop China taking Taiwan is to repel the invasion at the beginning. If they gain a foothold in Taiwan at all the risk of a strategic war is too great.
Bloody the nose (and hopefully the rest) of the Chinese invasion and hopefully they will return to lick their wounds. The major issue is the number of countries that recognise Taiwan is tiny and the number who would defend it is smaller, making a coordinated response difficult esp with declining US naval power

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Hi yes indeed, the latest analysis is that china will probably go for strategic surprise and be on the island before the U.S. even realised there are missiles raining down on Guam…China is now regularly practicing a take down of Taiwan in 1-2 weeks…type scenario..Taiwan is convinced that china will launch an invasion straight from one of its regular yearly pretend to in Taiwan exercises ( basically Taiwan is saying this to anyone who will listen and some of the key analysis says the same)…basically the party will be half over by the time the US gets there and digs… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

You’ve forgotten about the vast quantities of equipment we have give to the Ukraine? People said we didn’t have anything to give when that conflict started. How wrong they were.

JOHN MELLING
JOHN MELLING
1 month ago

Didn’t they already do this back in July ?
Or is this more money towards projects like “Thresher” and “HyLarc” 

ETH
ETH
1 month ago
Reply to  JOHN MELLING

This, as well as Thresher and HyLARC, is part of a wider UK hypersonics push. Each will benefit each other.

DeeBee
DeeBee
1 month ago

Are we playing catch up? The Russians & Chinese already have such weapons in service.

GlynH
GlynH
1 month ago
Reply to  DeeBee

Yes, but No, but Yes, but No . . do I sounds like Vicky? Launching / Hitting are sooooo totally different things. Remember boasts of MadVlad & PoohBear.

DeeBee
DeeBee
1 month ago
Reply to  GlynH

Yeh I know!! Apparently Russia has launched such supposed missiles at targets in Ukraine, which on at least one occasion have been successfully intercepted by US patriot air defence systems, so much for being ‘ unstoppable’!

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  DeeBee

And due to aerodynamic effects it’s very difficult to retain accuracy as sensors struggle at best in that environment so you need a large warhead or nuclear to be effective.

Coll
Coll
1 month ago
Reply to  DeeBee

You can say you have a hypersonic weapon if it goes over Mach 5. But when people refer to hypersonic weapons, they mean hypersonic in-atmosphere cruise missiles and glide vehicles. Russia’s Kinzhal is an air-launched ballistic missile. Pretty much a cheat workaround. Zircon still seems to be a mystery, I think.

Last edited 1 month ago by Coll
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Coll

Yes Zircon from film provided by the Russians themselves ironically in its launch sequence seems at least to some experts not to exhibit a hypersonic profile, uses flight correcting thrusters deemed unsuitable for a hypersonic flight vehicle and looks almost identical to its Soviet predecessor, so a lot of questions on that particular missile, especially in light of the bull put out by Russia on the Kinzhal’s capabilities until the truth came out.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago
Reply to  DeeBee

No, they don’t.

Jim
Jim
1 month ago
Reply to  DeeBee

The Russians have been lying about hypersonics for years.

Kinzhal is not a hypersonic missile unless you want to describe the V2 as a hypersonic missile. It’s an air launched ballistic missile nothing more. It’s an old 70’s concept and can be shot down by even Patriot.

Zircon is also a scam, no one has ever recorded it and anything over high Supersonic speed.

Avangard is nothing more than a nuclear warhead MIRV that may have some manoeuvrability. It’s as much a hypersonic weapons as our own trident II MIRV’s.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

Well spotted Jim though I didn’t know about the Avangard’s suspected limitations. Yes that reminds me re the Zircon in addition to what I reported above, evaluation of its flights seems to show if it can go hypersonic at all it can do so only in a very limited spurt and has to slow down to be able to identify a target I believe. I note it also failed in its last known attempted test firing which Putin was hoping to intimidate the World with as did the superseded Satan Ballistic missile he so boasts about.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  DeeBee

Well the Russian weapons so far look for the most part totally overblown and not particularly advanced and effective, the Kinzhal in particular and for the most part arguably just upgrades on Soviet designs. Only the Avangard Is a potentially advanced weapon of the glide body variety, assuming it works as prescribed of course others have not lived up to Putin’s hype. Cant believe Europe can’t produce similar weapons (ignoring Avangard) if they so wish, I tend to doubt they feel something as limited as Kinzhal is actually worth it and to give such a missile the targeting and manoeuvrability… Read more »

Jonno
Jonno
1 month ago

If its Army will it be Wheeled or Tracked; manned or unmanned or simply lighter than air? I’m confused.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago

Could double the challenger 3 fleet and still have some left over for extra stuff.
Do we need this now? Who does the U.K. need to hit that current weapons can’t deal with?
Main issues I see just now is putting Russia back in its borders and the problems affecting shipping around the globe. That needs more ships, aircraft for ships, more aid and equipment.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

The MIC loves it’s “pork” and HMG are all too happy to feed it.
Much of the MoD budget is there for this!

Coll
Coll
1 month ago

I do like the header image. It looks like something you would hang under a Vulcan. Is there an up-to-date detailed article on the breakdown of the major projects for each service? Because like the hypersonic program, I’m not sure what is a joint venture or an independent project at this point. Is this £1 billion towards the AUKUS hypersonic program or an independent program? Again, I’m getting a little confused.

Coll
Coll
1 month ago
Reply to  Coll

I know that the image isn’t the design.

SailorBoy
SailorBoy
1 month ago
Reply to  Coll

Is he doing AI headers now? I’ve seen some other websites do it and the results look really cool

Coll
Coll
1 month ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

It does have that art style. It kind of reminds me of the opening to ‘the comic strip presents…’

Last edited 1 month ago by Coll
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Coll

Yep me too, I just hope those organising it all have a true heads up.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
1 month ago

Welcome (?) but we might be better off finishing the programmes already underway.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

Here we go, same ol same old. Some clown peddling a new shiny sparkly weapon, at a cost of billions of £’s, when we do not need it, and when we are struggling to buy ships, jets, tanks etc etc.

Why?

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago

The missile in the image is not a hypersonic weapon. If it was the nose would melt. Pointed noses and hypersonics do not blend well. Plus the small wings are actually too big. At speeds above Mach 5, you can get away with using the main body to generate the main lift. Using small fins placed as far back as possible for the flight controls. With pointed noses, there is not enough material in the nose to move the heat that is being generated. Bearing in mind that by the time you hit Mach 5, you’ll be seeing temperatures of… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks for that it explains a lot and why perhaps experts have claimed Zircon doesn’t have a hypersonic profile based on the Russians own imagery.

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

As far as I know there are not any “non-official” static images of Zircon. There are some images provided to the media. Which may or may not be Zircon. So its hard to give a definitive answer. Russia have also said that Zircon can be used ballistically or with a quasi-ballistic profile along with a traditional cruise missile profile. From what has been said, the missile is about 8 to 10m long, though I have seen one reporting stating it was 11m long. Which is about the same size as the supersonic P800 Oniks. Similarly it uses a 2-stage propulsion… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Buy from the US. They still have a robust R&D budget for these things and are light years ahead, as usual.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Have you seen the price estimates for their hypersonic missiles. Multiple 10s of millions

Louis
Louis
1 month ago

It’s pretty crazy that everyone on this site seems to agree that the defence budget should be increased, and domestic defence industry prioritised, yet every single time a tiny investment in hypersonic missiles is announced there’s always an outcry.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  Louis

Interesting point. Would presume that this article defines British participation in the already established AUKUS Pillar II R&D initiative in Hypersonics (and counter-hypersonics). MoD DE&S is apparently the lead administrative agency. Will DE&S also become the technical lead and serve as the British equivalent ro DARPA? Presumably this model will be replicated across a number of Pillar II initiatives already scoped, if not completely defined (e g, quantum computing, cyber warfare, etc.) as well as those which will inevitably be defined in the future (e.g., space ops.). Not certain that everyone currently understands the dimensions of this evolving R&D organization.… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Hope you are correct, I too find it difficult to understand the critics who don’t seem to even read the basic details. This isn’t wasting money on an actual weapon (achievable or otherwise) but a set up to create collaboration to precisely proscribe what is possible or desirable and assess and support research and collaborations into technologies that will ease the way into as and when it might be feasible and developing such weapons. If you simply decide it’s not possible now or worthwhile you simply cut yourself off from ever being involved in technology that makes it all possible.… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Sorry,, not familiar w/ Black Arrow saga, but nonetheless understand the gist of your post. Truly believe AUKUS Pillar II R&D will ultimately immensely benefit all of the partners, over the long-term, in both industrial and military spheres. There will, of course, be the near-term pain associated w/ the investment required to mature novel technologies. Simply no way to avoid the investment in tech infrastructure, in order to reap future gains. 🤔

Coll
Coll
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I think ARIA is the Uk’s DARPA.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF
1 month ago
Reply to  Coll

Sorry,the only ARIA familiar w/ is the Boeing EC-135E Apollo Range Instrumentation Aircraft (the droop nosed 135 variant). Obviously not applicable in this instance. What does the British acronym mean? 🤔

Coll
Coll
1 month ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Advanced Research and Invention Agency

Last edited 1 month ago by Coll
DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Coll

DSTl bud.

monkey spanker
monkey spanker
1 month ago
Reply to  Louis

£1billion is not really a tiny investment even if it’s spread over 7 years. That takes us to 2031 before any decision will be made on actually purchasing anything.
We already have the future anti ship/land attack missile in that time scale.
It’s more there are so much items that require funding over the next few years.
What targets require hypersonic missiles instead of ordinary weapons.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Anti ship missile variant now worryingly estimated for 2034.

Jon
Jon
1 month ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Did anybody ever believe the “operational by 2028” guff that Quin came up with even before the missiles were out of the Concept phase? He only needed that date to justify cutting the Harpoon replacement.

RJH
RJH
1 month ago

MOD loves spending billions on theoretical studies that produce zero hardware. Meanwhile; China, Iran, Turkey, South Korea, Poland et al churn out/buy kit today that works and would lay waste to any UK formation based on the current level of issued hardware. I have a vision of a field of destroyed UK armour and infantry all clutching executive summaries of the findings of the latest billion dollar study!

Douglas Newell
Douglas Newell
1 month ago

Uk has squandered a 30 or 40 year lead with these technologies by penny pinchingly refusing to back Reaction Engines and their Sabre Engine.

https://reactionengines.co.uk/advanced-propulsion/sabre/

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

Very good, but some US hypersonic weapons are $40 million a shot. Given the MoD budget shortfall on existing projects, how can we afford a reasonable number of hypersonic weapons?

Marked
Marked
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

We can’t. Simples.

Armchair Admiral
Armchair Admiral
1 month ago
Reply to  Marked

Exactly. Buy a decent number of the supersonic fcasw. Job done.
Concorde was pegged at M2 so they wouldn’t need exotic materials. If M3 is available without exotic materials/price its a no brainer surely?
Let the Americans spend the money to take out very high value targets with very high value ordinance. As has been said. Quantity has a quality of its own and as the supersonic fcsaw(woteva) is likely to be much cheaper than a hypersonic, just pack them mk41s with them .
How much better is a hypersonic going to be for the price? AA

Jim
Jim
1 month ago

We could build a giant stealth flying wing drone, load it with 16 storm shadow or FC/ASW. All for the same price as one hypersonic missile.

It’s a total gimmick, this is why the US gave up on it years ago. It’s only getting back in now because of the over hyped threat and the gravy trains that US defence contractors and their Allie’s in congress can see.

It will end just like SDI, producing nothing and costing a fortune.

Netking
Netking
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim

“It will end just like SDI, producing nothing and costing a fortune.”

The US army expects to field it’s first hypersonic weapon(LRHW) within the first six months of 2024. There are even pictures of the first operational units training with the launchers.

Last edited 1 month ago by Netking
Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  Netking

Thanks for the reality check. Jim the reason the US stopped hypersonic research some years back was because the threat at that point seemed almost non existent and thus the cost of doing so spent elsewhere. A decade late having lost their ten year lead ( or much of it) they reconstituted it because technology has matured somewhat and potential foes are sporting such capabilities. As much as I have downplayed these weapons (Russias at least) they are still a threat and will only become more so despite the over hyping. China however is the biggest concern as their weapons… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago

Corcorde was “pegged at Mach 2.25”, any faster and the wing’s leading edges would start to go soft, roll and erode away. The engines and intake design were good up to Mach 2.5. The intake’s moveable ramp design was used as the foundation for Tornado. As a one way weapon, Mach 3+ is easily obtainable and can be done fairly cheaply. By using a ramjet you do limit the top speed to around Mach 6, at Mach 3 it is just getting into its stride. It is a less complicated design compared to a scramjet. Using a 1st stage rocket… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

There’s really are overkill for the most part, which is why they are having so many failures though beginning to solve that. The Russians can mock that but when you aim high it’s to be expected, the Russians aimed low and still struggle if not quite so much publicly at least. I think we (as a cooperative group) need to asses how high to aim, somewhere in between is my guess and it will be interesting to see how expensive that works out once technologies mature. Once producing jet engines was deemed to expensive, the rest is history. Fact is… Read more »

Mark
Mark
1 month ago

I think we’d be better off spending the money on some sort of defence system against other peoples hypersonic missiles.Take Russia for example; they could turn the UK into a smoking wasteland with just a few of their Kinzhals or Sarmats, and there’s literally, absolutely, and unequivocally nowt we can do about it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Mark
Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago

Lot of new stuff pencilled in for 5 years from now – “We’ll have to wait ’til 2028” 🙂

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

With all that’s happened in Ukraine, you’d think that the village idiots at the ‘top’ would be even more aware, of the horrific/sky high/ridiculous costs that ‘new’ future tech stuff costs.

Ergo the UK cannot aford it now, and as sure as **** could not afford to be involved in any war, and have to buy more ammunition for said ‘star wars toys’.

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall
1 month ago

I’m not sure if £1 bn gets you much in this space. I suspect that it is an attempt to appear to be a serious partner in AUKUS pillar 2. Currently Australia has far more to trade with the USA on hyper sonics than the UK.

Stc
Stc
1 month ago

Tell me I am wrong, all this money for something other countries have all ready developed. Is not a lot of the tech already known ? Did I read we had agreement with the US on joint development of hypersonics ? Why do we need to spend so much when the US has already done much of the research and is I understand very close to success. Most if not all Hypersonic weapons , other than glide vehicles, have to slow down to be accurate. That might have something to do with the Patriot system shooting one down ? I… Read more »

Viktor
Viktor
1 month ago

Ns2 goes hypersonic

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

I assume this is a contributory part of the AUKUS agreement?
The likely unit cost of a long ( intercontinental?) range hypersonic missile means that they should be seen as a successor or complement to ICBMs. They will simply be too expensive to be used in tactical roles. For these, relatively cheap subsonic cruise missiles operating at low level are likely to remain the weapon of choice.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago

In what mindset does Anyone think we are a world power that will be Any threat with this supersonic hyperbollox weapon, do tell me????.