Boeing, U.S. Navy to develop supersonic ramjet missile demonstrator

Boeing has received a $30 million contract from the U.S. Navy to jointly develop the Supersonic Propulsion Enabled Advanced Ramjet (SPEAR) flight demonstrator with the Navy’s Air Warfare Center Weapons Division.

Boeing and the U.S. Navy will demonstrate advanced missile technologies that will make carrier air wing warplanes more lethal against threats in the next decade. The contract award comes after the Department of Defense requested information from the defense industry to help the Navy determine the technical requirements of future carrier-based land and sea strike weapons systems.

The SPEAR flight demonstrator will provide the F/A-18 Super Hornet and carrier strike group with significant improvements in range and survivability against advanced threat defensive systems,” said Steve Mercer, Boeing’s SPEAR program manager. “We have a talented team of engineers to meet the challenging technical demands and schedule-timeline that the SPEAR program requires. We look forward to working with Navy experts to advance technologies for the Navy’s future capabilities.

For the new contract, Boeing and the Navy will produce a SPEAR demonstrator by late 2022 that will provide technical information required for practical sea strike weapons systems.

Boeing’s previous successes in the development of supersonic and hypersonic technologies include the X-51 Waverider test vehicle in 2010 and the Variable Flow Ducted Rocket propulsion system under the Triple Target Terminator program in 2014.

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