Raytheon has unveiled on the eve of the Paris Air Show a new vision for a future scramjet-powered hypersonic missile. 

The concept image released on Raytheon’s website reveals a waverider-like missile design powered by a relatively compact booster stage.  

The image provides significantly more detail about Raytheon’s secretive hypersonic technology pursuits, which also include a previously released boost-glide design concept and several ideas for counter-hypersonic missile defense systems. Unlike previous acknowledged projects, the new image appears to be Raytheon’s first air-breathing concept image. The weapon concept shows no obvious air inlets, but it’s common for manufacturers to mask that sensitive technology.  

Raytheon identifies the concept as a scramjet on the company’s website. 

“With engines built on a technology called a scramjet, the system uses a booster to reach cruising speeds,” Raytheon explains. “The missiles fly at sustained speeds above Mach 5 at certain altitudes in order to ensure the scramjet engine functions optimally.” 

The only disclosed weaponized scramjet project by the U.S. military is the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC), which is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  

Raytheon also is involved in the DARPA Tactical Boost Glide (TBG) program, which is developing and testing advanced hypersonic glide vehicles with a highly efficient aerodynamic shape. The TBG is intended to be a risk-reduction effort for a follow-on operational missile in development by the U.S. Air Force called the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW).  

Last winter, Raytheon also submitted several concepts to the Missile Defense Agency for a counter-hypersonic system, including a new family of hypersonic missile interceptors called Skyfire.  

Raytheon’s work in hypersonic technology has often been overshadowed by Lockheed Martin’s more visible projects, which includes the AGM-183A, TBG and HAWC. In May, Lockheed also revealed a concept for a scramjet-powered hypersonic missile launched by an F-35C, which was described as a potential future version of HAWC for the U.S. Navy.