Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. [KTOS] is to help oversee the System Requirements Review for Leidos‘ [LDOS] Mayhem air-breathing hypersonic aircraft proposal for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Kratos said on Jan. 10.

Leidos won a $334 million, 51-month AFRL contract for Mayhem last month and said that the initial task order would be the $24 milllion System Requirements Review/Conceptual Design Review in a digital engineering environment effort (Defense Daily, Dec. 19, 2021). Leidos has said that its System Design Agent (SDA) team for Mayhem includes Calspan, Draper Laboratory and Kratos.

AFRL said last month that it received six bids for Mayhem–formally known as the Expendable Hypersonic Multi-mission ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) and Strike program, but AFRL has not disclosed the other bidders besides Leidos. Such bidders may include Raytheon Technologies [RTX], which received a $985 million contract in September for the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile, and Airbus and Virgin Galactic, which have envisioned hypersonic passenger planes. Lockheed Martin [LMT] has said that it did not bid on Mayhem, and Boeing [BA] said that, while it also did not bid as a prime, the company is a member of Leidos’ winning Mayhem team.

“The SDA’s goal is to design a system that allows rapid relevant technology insertions utilizing the expertise and capabilities from a variety of industry partners,” Kratos said on Jan. 10. “The role of the SDA for this program will also include bringing the best of industry together to perform research and development necessary for production of air-breathing multi-mission hypersonic system prototypes. The SDA will oversee designs, prototypes, and tests to ultimately produce and deliver a technical data package for high performance, relevant hypersonic weapon systems.”

Leidos’ Dynetics unit is developing the Common Hypersonic Glide Body for U.S. Navy and Army hypersonic missiles.

Mayhem “marks the fourth program in the hypersonic field Leidos has gotten to be a part of,” Leidos said last month. “It also marks the third branch of the military we are privileged to work with on the development of these vital systems.”

To generate speeds of Mach 5 and up, air-breathing hypersonic systems use scramjet engines in contrast to rocket-propelled boost-glide hypersonic systems.

While Leidos has experience with boost-glide, it does not have experience with air-breathing hypersonic systems. Draper has experience with air-breathing hypersonic interceptor development, while Calspan in March of last year bought ACEnT Laboratories for its hypersonic testing capability.

“The SDA team is tasked with designing and developing a large-class version that surpasses current air-breathing systems in both range and payload capacity and is responsible for delivering a hypersonic system design to include airframe, propulsion system, booster, avionics, and vehicle subsystems,” Kratos said on Jan. 10.