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Lockheed Martin wins $347 million US army deal for hypersonic strike missile development

File photo: Lockheed Martin's logo is seen during Japan Aerospace 2016 air show in Tokyo, Japan, October 12, 2016. Photograph:( Reuters )

Sputnik News Agency Washington, United States Aug 30, 2019, 07.28 PM (IST)

The Army has inked a multi-year, $347 million deal to develop a new class of long-range precision strike missiles as part of a broader US effort to develop hypersonic weapons, Lockheed Martin announced in a press release on Friday.

"As the prime contractor for the Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) systems integration project, the Lockheed Martin-team will develop and integrate a land-based hypersonic strike prototype in partnership with the Army Hypersonic Project Office," the release said.

The release disclosed a separate $352 Army contract for Dynetics Technical Solutions (DTS) to produce the first commercially manufactured set of Common-Hypersonic Glide Body (C-HGB) systems.

DTS is one of a handful of US defense contractors that will work with Lockheed Martin on the project, the release said.

Both Russia and China are believed to be well ahead of the US in developing a new class of weapons that can fly up to 20 times the speed of sound, according to US officials.

In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin compared the development of the Russia’s Avangard hypersonic missile system to the launch of the first satellite in an address to Parliament.

Putin also said that jets carrying Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missiles had successfully demonstrated their unique characteristics during field testing.

The speed of hypersonic weapons makes them almost impossible to detect and destroy with existing missile defense technology.