DARPA Conducts First Test of the OpFires Ground-Launched Hypersonic Missile System

DARPA Conducts First Test of the OpFires Ground-Launched Hypersonic Missile System
DARPA Conducts First Test of the OpFires Ground-Launched Hypersonic Missile System

Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that the Operational Fires (OpFires) ground-launched hypersonic missile system has successfully executed its first flight test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. US Defence company Lockheed Martin built the system. The system has a Northrop Grumman rocket motor.


According to the announcement, the OpFires system met all test objectives, including the first use of a USMC logistics truck as a medium-range missile launcher, missile canister egress, stable flight capture, and the use of US Army inventory artillery fire control systems to initiate the test mission. 

The test demonstrated the maturation of critical enabling components such as the first stage rocket motor, missile canister, and Missile Round Pallet (MRP) through integrated technology. The MRP is intended for use with the load handling systems found on USMC and Army logistics vehicles, obviating the need for a custom OpFires Transporter Erector Launcher (TEL). 
 
The primary goal of OpFires is to develop and demonstrate a ground-launched two-stage propulsive system capable of employing hypersonic payloads from ubiquitous US military trucks capable of penetrating modern air defences and precisely striking time-critical targets. 
OpFires is highly mobile and rapidly deployable due to its compatibility with existing command and control, vehicles, logistics infrastructure, and operating environments. 
By 2022, the OpFires program will have completed an integrated system critical design review. 

DARPA Conducts First Test of the OpFires Ground-Launched Hypersonic Missile System