The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has awarded Leidos a $334 million contract for work on its Mayhem air-breathing hypersonic program.
Also known as the Expendable Hypersonic Multi-mission ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and Strike, the program will span a 51-month period of performance.
The Mayhem system will use a scramjet engine to generate thrust, propelling the vehicle across long distances at speeds greater than Mach 5. Leidos is tasked with designing and developing a large-class version that surpasses current air-breathing systems in range and payload capacity using digital engineering to ensure the design efforts help future development and transition.
The US Air Force said earlier the Mayhem would work on delivering a larger class air-breathing hypersonic system capable of executing multiple missions with a standardized payload interface.
Ideally, the Mayhem craft would carry payloads five-times the mass and double the range of current technology capability systems, while the standardized payload interface would create multiple opportunities for various payload integration within the same hypersonic system.
Official solicitation documents released last year ahead of the contract award identified three potential payloads for the Mayhem vehicle as a responsive, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) payload, an area effect payload and a large unitary payload, without providing further details.
“To deliver the next generation of air-breathing hypersonic system, we’ll leverage our years of investment, knowledge and success in the hypersonic field,” Leidos’ Dynetics president Steve Cook said. “Our team is prepared to undertake this vital mission for our nation.”
Leidos has received an initial task order of $24 million for the system requirements review (SRR) and conceptual design review (CoDR) in a digital engineering (DE) environment.
The company has assembled a team of industry and academia, including Calspan, Draper and Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., to serve as the system design agent (SDA).
The SDA will focus on delivering research and development needed to design and prepare a production ready technical data package to produce prototypes. Leidos will also lead the model based systems engineering (MBSE) and programming to help ensure Mayhem can transition from idea to operational system.