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Project Tactical Boost Glide. The contract to Raytheon, a threat to Russia

Проект Tactical Boost Glide. Контракт для Raytheon, угроза для России

Scientific and engineering organizations in the USA continue work on the creation of promising hypersonic weapon systems. Recently there was another news about one of such projects. Agency DARPA and the relevant authorities of the air forces of the United States reviewed the technical proposal for the Tactical Boost Glide program and selected the most successful project, which is to be developed. The contract for the performance of necessary work was awarded to Raytheon.

5 March, the press service of the company “Raytheon” and announced the victory in the competition, promising programs Tactical Boost Glide. The advanced research projects Agency DARPA the company entered into a contract with a value of 63.3 million dollars. Now Raytheon, DARPA and the U.S. air force should jointly pursue research and development work, which is expected to become a prototype, and then fully promising models of weapons.


Проект Tactical Boost Glide. Контракт для Raytheon, угроза для России

In a press release on obtaining the contract are the words of the Vice-President of Raytheon’s Advanced Missile Systems Thomas Businga. He noted that a new order from DARPA joins a growing number of hypersonic programs carried out by the forces of Raytheon. The company works closely with its clients, which is necessary for rapid creation and implementation of new developments. The purpose of all this, according to T. Basinga is giving the armed forces new tools that can be used to respond to actual threats.

Unfortunately, DAPRA and Raytheon do not provide any new details of technical or organizational nature. Also remain unknown expected completion dates and their perspectives in the context of a real re.


The first reports about a new program the Agency called DARPA Tactical Boost Glide (“cruise planning Tactical combat unit”) appeared last summer. Then it was reported that the Agency plans to bring several defense companies for the further development of advanced hypersonic weapons. In the next few years it was planned to conduct the necessary research and development.

According to foreign press, the aim of the project TBG is the creation of a rocket complex with booster rocket and actually planning a combat unit. The latter should develop a speed of about M=5 and show the flight range of 500 nautical miles (926 km). Part of the features of the project were not disclosed.

Last summer it became known that the TBG program you wish to participate in Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. In mid-July edition of Aviation Week wrote that the “Raytheon” has refused to discuss the company’s participation in the new project of DARPA. It was noted that already there are negotiations, the results of which will be made necessary decision. This kind of information about the project, “Lockheed-Martin” did not become public knowledge.

Some information on TBG are given in a short note on the official website of DARPA. Official material resembles that of the arms with the speed of flight more than 5 times the speed of sound have a high combat potential, as they can in the shortest time to travel long distances. Such weapons can provide a significant increase in the striking power of the American army, including in terms of building up the enemy’s potential.

Tactical Boost Glide is a joint program of DARPA and the U.S. air force. The purpose of this program is the study and development of technologies on the basis of which it will be possible to create new types of hypersonic weapons air-launched tactical level. Such a weapon is complex, including upper stage rocket and planning combat unit.

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According to DARPA, before the TBG program has three main objectives. The first confirmation of the possibility in principle of creating an aircraft with the desired characteristics. It is necessary on a theoretical level to justify implementing a project that meets the requirements of the customer. The second objective confirmation of the effectiveness of promising weapons in the foreseeable conditions of use. The third challenge is accessibility. As a technology demonstrator, and future combat serial product need not be expensive and complex to operate.

The program TBG is divided into two stages. During the tests it is planned to conduct inspections on the ground and in the air. It will allow to fulfill critical technology and to show the real capabilities of the system, created on its basis. The use of a systematic approach for the formation of the image of the demonstrator and further work on the combat system.

In the new project TBG experts DARPA proposes to use already developed technologies developed under previous programmes. Thus, the source of the necessary solutions could be the project of the Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2), also known as the DARPA Falcon Project.

March 2, several days before the news about the contract with “Raytheon”, Director of DARPA’s Steven Walker revealed plans for the current 2019. According to him, this year, DARPA will hold a lot of testing hypersonic weapons. The exact types planned for testing of products not mentioned. S. Walker also said that the United States ‘ government allocates insufficient funding to develop hypersonic technologies.


Taking into account all available data about the project Tactical Boost Glide, you can make a rough picture of events. The program started last year, and to date, two defence companies in the US have prepared their own versions of the preliminary draft. The most successful DARPA and the air force considered the development of Raytheon’s Advanced Missile Systems. Now this company have to learn 63.3 million dollars and to introduce a new version of the draft. Does the latest a contract the construction and testing of prototypes is unknown. Perhaps these works will be carried out under the following agreement.

Of great interest is the concept of the weapons offered by DARPA to implement the program TBG. Are we talking about aircraft missile complex tactical or operational-tactical level, is built, using planning combat unit. From the point of view of architecture this is the typical weapon of the schema of the boost-glide (“acceleration schedule”), which includes two main elements: the rocket and planning combat unit. Known wishes of the customer in part of performance.

In the name of the project mentioned tactical scope advanced weapons, which could be a hint at some of its technical features. We can assume that the complex is TBG will have limited size and weight that will allow you to use it with frontline aircraft. However, the finished product may be larger and heavier, causing the tactical missile will have to use strategic bombers.

If the assumptions about the small size of the complex is true, then Raytheon will have to solve a number of challenges. First and foremost, it is necessary to adapt existing technology for a new project with its specific restrictions. Also need similar processing of existing solutions in the field of guidance and control. If the goal is to reduce the dimensions of the missing – project still will not be easy.

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Modern designs of hypersonic and resorts offer the use of conventional and special military units. A constraint can cause the warhead TBG will be able to carry only a conventional warhead. In addition, the application of the kinetic method defeats the purpose. DARPA and Raytheon are in no hurry with the explanations on this subject.


The US openly talking about the development of hypersonic strike systems as a response to similar projects of Russia and China. In this regard, our country should create not only their own prospective weapons, and protection from foreign threats. In the context of the programme TBG and other such projects the creation of effective remedies can be extremely difficult.

Is considered and it is constantly mentioned that a hypersonic glide warhead is unique in its properties to the weapon. His interception is a difficult task for any air and missile defense. High speed flight reduces the possible time to respond to the threat and impairs or prevents the interception of anti-aircraft missile.

It is easy to calculate that the product TBG at a speed of M=5 in theory, able to fly for maximum range in less than 10 min. Loss of speed in gliding flight will only slightly increase this time. Thus, to combat such a weapon requires air defense system, capable of detecting the threat at the maximum possible range, and then to intercept the target, moving along unpredictable trajectories at hypersonic speed. Probably the most convenient way of dealing with this threat is to intercept aircraft carrier, which also has its difficulties.

What Russia and China will respond to a potential threat in a Tactical Boost Glide from DARPA and Raytheon – is unclear. In our country now is developing advanced air defense systems and missile complexes, which are expected to differ from its predecessors increased technical and combat characteristics. It cannot be excluded that, for example, in the project-500 originally laid ability to cope with hypersonic aerodynamic purposes.


The United States is not the first year engaged in research in the field of hypersonic technologies and build and test prototypes of new types. Another program of this kind recently came to signing the contract with the contractor. Now, the company “Raytheon” to develop the proposed ideas and bring them to the stage of technical project. Then we should expect that it will build and test prototypes of the TBG. In the case of receiving the desired results, the product is adapted for use in the armed forces.

The recent news about the appearance of another agreement between DARPA and Raytheon, as well as the expected consequences of this event are a strong signal to other countries, which the US is far from perfect. Russia and China, which the United States considered as competitors and potential enemies, be aware of the latest news and to take action to protect their interests.

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