At this year's Paris Air Show, advanced weapon and space systems company Alliant Techsystems, Inc. (ATK) displayed a model of its proposed High Speed Surface Weapon (HSSW), powered by a thermally-throated ramjet the company hasbeen developing for about two years. The HSSW in effect competes with several government-funded hypersonic-strike weapons, such as RATTLR (Real-Time Targeting at Long Range) and Hy-Fly. ATK claims that its internally-funded design will be substantially less expensive. Based on surface tests, it expects its ramjet to reach Mach 5 using conventional materials, and to reach hypersonic (scramjet) speeds using more exotic ones. All of these weapons are intended to place a 500pound warhead at a range of about 250 nautical miles, and all are sized for firing from MK 41 vertical-launcher tubes. Like its competitors, HSSW would use GPS/ INS guidance, with a data link for midcourse and man-in-the-loop updates.
World Naval Developments: Changes in the Missile World
By Norman Friedman, Ph.D.