It was announced last week that two defense contractors with a large presence in Arizona will partner on one of the U.S. Air Force’s most cutting edge weapons—a hypersonic air-breathing missile capable of sustained speeds of Mach 5 or greater.
Tucson-based Raytheon Missiles & Defense has been selected along with Northrup Grumman Corp. to deliver a first-of-its-kind Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) which utilizes a scramjet engine that forcibly compresses incoming air with a hydrocarbon fuel for combustion to travel at least five times the speed of sound.
This allows a HACM to reach its targets more quickly than similar traditional missiles, allowing it to potentially evade defensive systems, according to the companies which have been working together since 2019 to integrate Northrop Grumman’s scramjet engines onto Raytheon’s air-breathing hypersonic weapons.
In July, they conducted the second successful flight test of a Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) for the U.S. Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
During the flight test, the concept weapon was released from an aircraft and accelerated to hypersonic speeds using a scramjet engine. The vehicle then flew a trajectory which engineers designed to intentionally stress the weapon to explore its limits and further validate digital performance models from the first flight test in September 2021.
“The second flight test is a big step toward scramjet technology being mission ready,” Dan Olson, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems for Northrop Grumman said at the time. “Nearly twenty years of scramjet propulsion research and development have come to fruition to significantly advance our nation’s weapon capabilities.”
The contract announced earlier this month now calls for Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman to finetune development of the concept technologies and deliver operationally ready HACMs to the U.S. Air Force.
“Advancing our nation’s hypersonic capabilities is a critical national imperative, and this was an important step forward,” said Wes Kremer, president of Raytheon Missiles & Defense, in August. “Having back-to-back successful flight tests gives us even greater confidence in the technical maturity of our HAWC operational prototype.”
Hypersonic weapons demand novel design solutions because their speed and maneuverability create challenging operating environments. To develop and validate the system quickly, Raytheon has used digital engineering, specifically modeling and simulation, along with ground testing.
“It’s hard to recreate in the real world the most advanced threat scenarios, and that’s especially true in hypersonics,” Kremer said after the July flight test. “But we have the power to model a hypersonic flight regime. Advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data allow us to develop capabilities at scale in a way that wasn’t possible before.”
Most Americans would agree that taxes aren’t among the top ten things they love about this country — that is, unless you’re a corporation in Arizona looking ahead to SB1643. The bill offers corporations the option to cash out unused Research and Development (R&D) tax credits normally carried forward by taxpayers, totaling around $2 billion in 2019. SB1643 would allow corporations to cash them out at 60 cents on the dollar for “reinvestment” projects, with each corporation limited to $10 million a year or their amount of unused R&D credits, whichever is less. In order to implement this program, the state would appropriate over $50 million from its general fund. The bill would also increase the annual aggregate cap’s refundable portion of the R&D credit from $5 to $10 million. SB1643 passed in the State Senate several days after failing initially last month, and awaits final consideration in the House.
Valid reinvestment projects would include sustainability or water capital projects; building or updating research and development facilities; capital expenditure projects or workforce development projects with universities or career technical education districts, including tuition reimbursement, hiring employees for the institution of higher learning, and apprenticeships; and capital expenditure projects supported by matching funds from federal or national grant programs.
In practice, those reinvestment projects tend to encourage corporations to be fashioned in government and bureaucrat-friendly trappings. Sustainability efforts fall in line with initiatives fulfilling the climate justice portion of the Green New Deal: electric vehicle charging stations, windmills, public transit, solar panels, and greenhouse gas elimination on farms. The city of Phoenix has been the poster child for climate justice, implementing a “cool pavement” pilot program to mitigate urban heat, a phenomenon of higher temperatures in urbanized areas, as well as pledging to become 100 percent carbon-neutral by 2050, eliminating food deserts, and establishing 100 years of clean and reliable water supplies.
Workforce development initiatives would err on the side of social justice activism. One recent example would be defense technology giant Raytheon, whose workforce development initiative, “Stronger Together,” garnered international controversy for requiring employees to adopt critical race theory (CRT) beliefs through a training program. The program targeted white employees, listing white, straight, Christian men as the pinnacle of the “oppression hierarchy.” The company also segregated employees into race and identity groups.
Investigative journalist Christopher Rufo exposed Raytheon’s initiative last July. In an interview with Fox News, Rufo opined that the reason corporations like Raytheon push woke ideologies was to ensure that the government had less reasons to scrutinize them, allowing for an uninhibited flow of taxpayer dollars.
“Think of it as a protection racket similar to the Mafia, where you pay a small fee — in this case, you signal virtue, you hire the right consultants, you sign the right pledges to decolonize your bookshelf or to interrogate your unconscious bias — and then these companies hope to be left alone, that the social media mob, that the politicians in office, that the Biden Administration will keep that taxpayer money flowing because they’ve signaled the right beliefs,” said Rufo.
Raytheon has a headquarters in Tucson.
Banner Health, one of the state’s largest employers, clarifies that its workforce development and training course content is “culturally appropriate” and “trauma informed,” among other things. Those same keywords were present in Raytheon’s woke workforce development program.
Workforce development initiatives with universities under the tax credit program may look like the latest efforts out of Arizona State University (ASU) and its “New Economy Initiative,” which aims to increase the number of science, technology, and engineering workers and therefore attract more large technology companies. The state gave ASU $32.2 million over last year and this year, with an additional $21.2 forthcoming. ASU projected it would double these funds over the next decade, and create 40,000 new jobs by 2041.