Lockheed Martin has selected three subcontractors for the Operational Fires (OpFires) Phase Three Weapon System Integration programme.

The three companies are Northrop Grumman, Dynetics and Electronic Concepts & Engineering (ECE), which will support the prime contractor Lockheed Martin by supplying critical components for the OpFires programme.

The programme involves the development of a ground-launched system that will enable hypersonic boost glide weapons to penetrate modern enemy air defences and swiftly engage critical time-sensitive targets.

Under the programme, Lockheed Martin is working with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on the development of hypersonic technologies.

Commenting on the addition of three partners, Tactical and Strike Missiles Advanced Programs director Steven Botwinik said: “The engineering innovation required to deliver this manoeuvrable and rapid-response solution demands a best-of-industry team.

“OpFires and its unique throttle-able booster make it a versatile platform to launch a variety of payloads over varied ranges and for this reason, OpFires is well-suited to address the army’s medium-range strategic fires needs.”

As agreed, Northrop Grumman will develop the stage one solid rocket motor, while Dynetics will deliver the canister, all up round and fins, and support integration and testing.

On the other hand, ECE will be responsible for providing booster power pyro module.

Lockheed Martin has been engaged in the development of hypersonic technologies for more than 30 years.

The company expects to conduct its first live-fire next year.

Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin received a US Army contract to produce high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) launchers and associated hardware.