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Kratos, Hypersonix team up on hypersonic systems for US market

WASHINGTON — Kratos Defense and Security Solutions and Australia’s Hypersonix have formed a partnership to integrate their hypersonic vehicle and propulsion systems and expand their footprint within the U.S. national security market.

Under the agreement, Kratos committed to initially buy 20 of Hypersonix’s DART AE hypersonic vehicles once the system is completed and demonstrated. The U.S.-based company will integrate its Zeus line of propulsion systems with DART AE.

“This exclusive partnership . . . enables the Kratos/Hypersonix team to be first-to-market with relevant capability in support of U.S. and Australia hypersonic initiatives,” Dave Carter, president of Kratos’ defense and rocket systems business said in an Aug. 9 press release.

The teaming arrangement comes as the U.S. looks to expand its cooperation with Australia and the United Kingdom through the trilateral security agreement known as AUKUS. That means deepening its partnerships with those allies on a range of advanced capabilities — including hypersonic systems, which can travel at speeds above Mach 5.

The move also will expand Hypersonix’s presence in the U.S., following a contract award in March from the Defense Innovation Unit. The Pentagon’s commercial technology hub selected DART AE for its Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities program, which aims to leverage commercial progress developing reusable, low-cost hypersonic test vehicles to help alleviate strain on government test infrastructure.

Hypersonix expects DART AE to fly for the first time in early 2024.

Kratos is No. 88 on Defense News’ 2023 Top 100 list, which ranks companies based on annual defense revenue. The company’s hypersonic development work includes both propulsion and vehicle development for DoD and classified national security customers.

The company is on contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory for its Mayhem program, which is developing a hypersonic ISR and strike platform, and the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonics Testbed.

Kratos has experience working with Australian technology firms, noting in its press release that it has launched several hypersonic missions in collaboration with the country’s Defense and Science Technology Group and the University of Queensland.

“Both Hypersonix and Kratos view the teaming arrangement as an important step towards rapid future hypersonic flights in the United States,” Kratos said.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.

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