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SEPTEMBER 2020

U.S. Successfully Tested Vintage Racer Hypersonic Loitering Weapon

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U.S. Successfully Tested Vintage Racer Hypersonic Loitering Weapon

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The U.S. appears to have successfully tested its Vintage Racer hypersonic loitering weapon.

The investigation on the matter was carried out by American author Steve Trimble, specializing in aviation topics.

U.S. Successfully Tested Vintage Racer Hypersonic Loitering Weapon

Click to see full-size image

U.S. Successfully Tested Vintage Racer Hypersonic Loitering Weapon

Click to see full-size image

U.S. Successfully Tested Vintage Racer Hypersonic Loitering Weapon

Click to see full-size image

It followed a photograph of US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy at the General Atomics Booth at AUSA-2019.

The starting point for the journalist was the document held by the minister. The printout is entitled “Vintage Racer – Loitering Weapon System (LWS)”, it clearly shows several headings pointing to hypersonic weapons. The slide illustration shows something launched from a ground installation.

Looking into it, Trimble found evidence of Vintage Racer systems in the open budget documentation of the US Department of Defense. There, it was held as an OCD under an article providing for accelerated financing and construction of prototypes according to the requirements of the armed forces.

The documentation said, in particular, that “the project successfully passed the confirmation of the aerodynamic layout during blowdowns in the wind tunnel and the integration of guidance subsystems to achieve the effect of kinetic destruction of the target before the climax in the form of flight tests in fiscal year 2019.”

It was further stated that the prototypes of the project were transferred to the US Army for the further development and organization of the procurement process.

Comparing this with the fact that the Vintage Racer project is apparently engaged in the General Atomics corporation, which specializes in UAVs rather than missile systems, and that the budget documentation refers to “kinetic defeat”, and in the presentation from AUSA-2019 – about “Hypersonic Ingress” and “Time Over Target” technologies, it can be assumed that under Vintage Racer there is a kind of barrage weapon system, equipped with small-sized, hypersonic kinetic ammunition. In any case, based on the volume of financing, this cannot be a system of strategic or “substrategic” appointment.

Recall that in the United States for several decades work has been underway to create small-sized hypersonic missiles of kinetic destruction, mainly in relation to anti-tank missions. Now the task of kinetic damage can also be relevant to reduce the side effect (we can recall the version of the Hellfire kinetic damage rocket currently used for special tasks). So, tested in the early 1980s, the HVM aircraft missile with a speed of Mach 6 had a mass of 20 kg with a length of about 2m and a diameter of 89.4 mm.

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