Speed Matters

The Air Force intends to move forward next fiscal year with two missile-related technology demonstrations: one with a future conventional weapon in mind and the other supporting a next-generation nuclear cruise missile, said Steven Walker, science, technology, and engineering lead in the Air Force Secretariat’s acquisition office. The conventional High Speed Strike Weapon technology demonstration “will be representative of an air-breathing hypersonic missile system with the capability to engage fixed and relocatable targets at extended ranges and survive the most stringent environments presented to us in the next decade,” Walker told lawmakers in recent testimony. The Supersonic Turbine Engine for Long Range demonstration aims to “bring critical key technologies to a readiness level sufficient for transition” to the Long Range Standoff Missile, he said. That weapon is the provisional replacement for the service’s nuclear-capable Air Launched Cruise Missile. Walker said STELR’s notional schedule calls for two major tests in 2013 “to demonstrate durability, operability, and performance characteristics of the engine technologies.” (For more of Walker’s testimony, read Showing the Technology Flag and Significant Adjustments in S&T.)