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UK begins billion-dollar program to develop world’s first domestically-made hypersonic missile

Homegrown hypersonic missiles for the UK
  • The UK is developing a homegrown hypersonic missile
  • They aim to keep up with world powers like the United States, China, and Russia
  • $1.25 billion has been put up for the project so far

Published on May 15, 2024 at 7:42PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on May 17, 2024 at 6:19PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis

The United Kingdom has commenced a project to develop a domestically built hypersonic missile that could be operational by the 2030s.

Through this new project, the UK aims to keep in step with other world powers such as the United States, China, and Russia.

In a statement, the UK’s Defence Equipment and Support – basically, the guys who provide all the weapons for their armed forces – said that they’ve selected several companies to be involved in the bidding process to take part in the ambitious project.

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90 organizations of various sizes have been selected for the Hypersonic Technologies and Capability Development Framework (HTCDF) agreement which will see around $1.25 billion (£1 billion) handed out to develop the homegrown ballistic.

It’s not a snappy title, but they intend to do things in a pretty snappy fashion.

The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed that the project has been set up ‘with pace in mind’, meaning that they want to build a very fast missile, very quickly.

Suppliers will bid for eight lots over seven years, coinciding with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent pledge to spend 2.5 percent of the country’s GDP on defense by 2030.

That means an extra $94 billion (£74.3 billion) across the board.

The UK isn’t the only country that is working hard to push through the sound barrier.

After the demise of Concorde, the world is waiting for supersonic passenger flight once again, and loads of different projects – with varying time-frames and levels of viability – are springing up left, right, and center.

Of course, other countries are also working on new military planes that will be able to zip around the globe in a flash, too.

But, the UK’s focus – for now – is on this new project, delivering a ‘sovereign UK Hypersonic Strike Capability’, and bolstering the country’s relations with their treaty partners such as Australia and the USA.

“We had a fantastic response from those wanting to be part of what is an iconic national endeavor,” said Team Hypersonics director Paul Wilson in a statement

“In an unsettled world, the battlespace is continually evolving, and the UK MOD recognizes the need for agility to ensure we can rapidly develop and deliver the capabilities our Armed Forces need to protect our interests and those of our allies.”

“Hypersonics will be a landmark capability of the future and it is essential we keep pace with the developments of our adversaries,” the UK’s Minister of Defense Procurement James Cartlidge added.

“The Framework sends a clear demand signal to UK industry of our intention to develop hypersonics, which is critical for the nearly 50% of the suppliers which will be Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).”

New suppliers will be able to join the HTCDF every six or 12 months, meaning that new technologies and ideas will be able to be assimilated as they emerge.

If the future really is unpredictable – for everyone but Elon Musk, that is – the most anyone can do is try to be prepared.

Some of the images used for this article were generated using AI

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