Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Leidos to develop air-breathing hypersonic system for USAF

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has awarded a $334 million contract to Virginia-based Leidos for the development of an air-breathing hypersonic system.

The Expendable Hypersonic Multi-mission ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and Strike program, better known as Mayhem, will span a 51-month period of performance. The initial task order is $24 million to conduct the System Requirements Review (SRR) and Conceptual Design Review (CoDR) in a Digital Engineering (DE) environment.

The Mayhem system design consists of a scramjet engine to generate thrust, propelling the vehicle across long distances at speeds greater than Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. Leidos has been tasked with designing and developing a large-class version that surpasses current air-breathing hypersonic systems in range and payload capacity using digital engineering to ensure the design efforts help future development and transition.

“To deliver the next generation of the air-breathing hypersonic system, we’ll leverage our years of investment, knowledge, and success in the hypersonic field,” Leidos’ Dynetics President Steve Cook said. “Our team is prepared to undertake this vital mission for our nation.”

The company has assembled a team of leaders from industry and academia, including Calspan, Draper, and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., to serve as the System Design Agent (SDA). SDA will create partnerships between government, industry, and academia to deliver the cutting-edge research and development needed to design and build production-ready technical data packages to build prototypes.

Leidos will also lead the Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and programming that will ensure the Mayhem system’s transition from idea to operational system.

“The team assembled by Leidos marries exceptional experience with innovation,” said Mayhem program manager Ryan Leo. “We’re working with the nation’s top solution providers in hypersonic vehicle and propulsion technologies. We’re proud to contribute to this important national security mission.”

Work for the project will be carried out at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. And if everything goes to plan, it is expected to be completed by October 2028.