US DOD rewrites hypersonic weapons acquisition rules

2 November 2020 (Last Updated November 2nd, 2020 12:43)

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has rewritten the acquisition rules to fast-track the delivery of hypersonic weapons to the warfighter.

US DOD rewrites hypersonic weapons acquisition rules
Air Force Cadet 2nd Class Eric Hembling uses a Ludwieg Tube to measure the pressures, temperatures and flow field of various basic geometric and hypersonic research vehicles at Mach 6 in the US Air Force Academy’s Department of Aeronautics. Credit: Joshua Armstrong, Air Force.

The US Department of Defense (DOD) has rewritten the acquisition rules to fast-track the delivery of hypersonic weapons to the warfighter.

The existing regulations delayed the acquisition of advanced technology, according to the DOD. The changes could help to rapidly build a hypersonic arsenal.

US Acquisition and Sustainment Defense Undersecretary Ellen Lord said: “We need to build a more lethal force and speed delivery of capability to the warfighter. In other words, DOD acquisition needs to move at the speed of relevance.”

“One of my team’s most significant accomplishments has been rewriting the DOD 5000 series, the overarching acquisition policies that focus on what I call creative compliance so that acquisition professionals can design acquisition strategies that minimise risk.”

One of the areas that the new policy is paying attention to is the early consideration of the sustainment of weapons systems.

Lord added that the change in the acquisition policy could help to decrease the sustainment costs by around 20%.

There are six acquisition pathways included in the 5000 series’ ‘Adaptive Acquisition Framework’ to drive capability fielding faster and affordably.

They are urgent capability, major capability, software, services defence business systems and middle tier.

Lord said: “These pathways implement the six main tenets of the Defense Acquisition System: to simplify policy, tailor in approaches, and empower programme managers, facilitate data-driven analysis, actively manage risk and emphasise sustainment.”

Last month, the DOD selected Texas A&M University’s Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) for its University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) initiative.