US' hypersonic missile 'Mayhem' gets a boost from Kratos

A leading national security solutions firm, Kratos, has officially been selected to join a select group of companies working on the hypersonic missile program "Mayhem."
Christopher McFadden
Concept art of the system.

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. 

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, a leading provider of national security solutions, said that its Defense & Rocket System Services (DRSS) Division, working with Kratos' Unmanned Systems Division, has been given a contract by Leidos to support the Expendable Hypersonic Multi-Mission ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) and Strike Program, also known as "Mayhem."

"Project Mayhem" exists to develop a hypersonic air-breathing system that can perform both strike and intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (IRS) missions and has a larger payload capacity than the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).

The weapon will improve the USAF's ability to attack targets from a distance, making it possible to attack well-defended targets.

By 2023, it is anticipated to be formally deployed.

We know that the program plans to develop the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), among other things, for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, even though very little information has been made public about it (DARPA).

Press releases state that Leidos will use digital and model-based systems engineering. This fits with an Air Force strategy that gives digital engineering a higher priority in weapon development to speed up development and make designs more accurate.

The company says that this new contract will help the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) build an air-breathing hypersonic missile system during the first 51 months of its performance period. The System Requirements Review (SRR) and Conceptual Design Review (CoDR) will be carried out as part of the initial work order in a Digital Engineering (DE) setting.

Kratos will participate in the System Design Agent (SDA) team for the Mayhem program in collaboration with Leidos, Calspan, and Draper. The SDA aims to create a system that makes it easy to combine relevant technologies quickly and uses the skills and resources of many industry partners.

The project will bring together the "best minds"

As part of this initiative, the SDA will also bring together the best minds to do the research and development needed to make prototypes of multi-mission hypersonic systems that can breathe air. The SDA will oversee designs, prototypes, and tests to complete a technical data package for high-performing, practical hypersonic weapon systems and give it to the government.

Scramjet engines are used to propel air-breathing hypersonic systems. This lets the craft travel long distances at speeds higher than Mach 5 and breathe air.

The SDA team is in charge of designing a hypersonic system that includes an airframe, a propulsion system, a booster, avionics, and vehicle subsystems that are better than current air-breathing systems in terms of range and cargo capacity.

“This opportunity will provide a unique capability for our warfighters, and we’re excited to be part of the new Mayhem program," said Dave Carter, President of DRSS.

"As a key member of the SDA team, Kratos will drive mission success by using our flight-proven agile digital engineering principles and a lot of experience in high-performance propulsion, hypersonics, and designing air vehicles," Carter also said.

"Kratos has successfully developed and flown several hypersonic 'systems' over the last decade. [Our] internally funded hypersonic investments in unique systems, including Zeus and Erinyes, are beginning to pay dividends in important national security solutions,” he added.

Eric DeMarco, President, and CEO of Kratos, said, “Kratos’ mission is to be a disruptive transformation agent to the U.S. National Security industrial base and market, rapidly designing, developing, producing, and fielding affordable systems and technology. The Mayhem Hypersonic Systems program award with our strategic partner Leidos is a recent representative example of our continued success.”

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