Key point: New test sites will help America compete in hypersonics with China and Russia.
CHINA LAKE NAVAL AIR WEAPONS STATION, Calif. – U.S. Navy hypersonic weapons experts are moving forward with a plan to develop in-air and underwater launch testing capability for a new generation of global-reach weapons able to move at speeds in excess of five times the speed of sound.
Officials of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station near Ridgecrest, Calif., announced a $93 million five-year contract Thursday to Jacobs Technology Inc., part of the Jacobs Engineering Group, in Fort Walton Beach, Calif., for engineering and design services to upgrade, redesign, fabricate, and operate testing capability for a new weapons system.
Jacobs Technology experts will provide services to upgrade, redesign, fabricate, and operate an air launch testing capability at China Lake, and will provide the conceptual design support and initial operation of an underwater launch test capability at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) in Crane, Ind.
NAWCWD officials issued a sources-sought notice last January (N6893619R0016) as part of the Conventional Prompt Strike (CPS) project, which seeks to develop hypersonic weapons to enable the U.S. to strike targets anywhere on Earth in as little as an hour.
Jacobs Technology engineers will help the Navy upgrade, redesign, and operate the current launch testing complex (LTC) at China Lake. The contract includes site re-activation, test and evaluation, and support to enable hypersonic weapons fielding or deployment.
The contract also asks Jacobs Technology to upgrade, design, and fabricate a test payload tube (TPT), launch test stand (LTS), launch test vehicles (LTV), advanced payload module (APM), cross flow (CF) simulator and control and data acquisition next generation (CDAS-NG).
The upgraded launch test complex, now referred to as the air launch test complex, will provide the air launch testing capability to support the Conventional Prompt Strike program.
In addition, Jacobs Technology experts will provide conceptual design and operation of an under water test complex in Crane, Ind. The China Lake and Crane test facilities will help the Navy develop hypersonic weapons for launch from surface warships, submarines, aircraft, and land sites.
On this contract Jacobs Technology will do the work at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, Calif., and at the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Crane, Inc., and should be finished in September 2024.