The US Air Force is developing a hypersonic drone named “Mayhem.” This drone will be capable of performing surveillance and strike missions.
Hypersonic weapons, such as the Russian military’s Kh-47M2 Kinzhal missile, have the ability to evade air defense systems and travel at high velocities. These types of weapons have been operational in Russia and China for several years.
However, the United States and other Western countries are still in the early stages of developing hypersonic armaments. The US Air Force research laboratory is focusing on the development of the “Mayhem” drone.
Due to secrecy surrounding defense projects, not much is known about the US Air Force’s hypersonic drone, called “Mayhem.” The Air Force states that it is a multi-mission vehicle designed for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
This vehicle will be able to travel at speeds greater than Mach 5. The US Air Force laboratory has already conducted tests on prototype hypersonic missiles, such as the Air Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) developed by Lockheed Martin. This missile was launched from a B-52 and reached a speed of Mach 20 before targeting its destination. The “Mayhem” drone will use the same ramjet supersonic combustion technology as the ARRW. The companies Leidos and Kratos have been contracted by the US Air Force to produce the weapon system and future prototypes.
It is worth noting that the Russian military claims to have used at least one Kh-47M2 Kinzhal hypersonic missile in a strike in Western Ukraine last March. The Kinzhal is propelled by the first stage of the Iskander missile and has a range of 2,000 km and a speed of Mach 10, capable of reaching hypersonic speeds at the time of impact.