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US, Australia, UK to Pursue Hypersonics Development Under New Defense Alliance

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The U.S., Australia and the U.K. have agreed to broaden cooperation to develop hypersonics and other military technology platforms, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

The defense alliance, called AUKUS, will also advance cooperation on artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, undersea and electronic warfare capabilities.

U.S. President Biden, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement the expanded cooperation sought to reaffirm their “commitment to [the partnership] and to a free and open IndoPacific.”

The three countries launched AUKUS in September. At the time, the U.S. and the U.K. announced that they would help Australia develop nuclear-powered submarines.

A defense official said the U.S. conducted testing in mid-March of a Lockheed Martin-built hypersonic missile that was launched from a B-52 bomber, according to a report by CNN.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said the Lockheed version of the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept system flew for more than 300 nautical miles at altitudes higher than 65,000 feet and hypersonic speeds faster than Mach 5.

The HAWC missile also met several objectives, including safe separation from the carrier aircraft, booster firing, integration and release and cruise, according to the report.

CNN said it was the second HAWC missile test. In September, the U.S. Air Force tested a Raytheon Technologies-built configuration of an HAWC missile powered by a scramjet engine from Northrop Grumman.

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