Simulating the high heat and speed of hypersonic systems is key for Massachusetts’ Draper Laboratory in its work on the Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Mayhem program.

A Leidos [LDOS] team 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’ System Design Agent (SDA) team for Mayhem includes Calspan, Draper Laboratory and Kratos [KTOS].

Mayhem is to develop an air-breathing hypersonic system and is formally known as the Expendable Hypersonic Multi-mission ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and Strike program.

“Draper will lead the integrated product team for Mayhem’s guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) system, and will support the integrated product teams for systems engineering, software and test,” Draper Laboratory said on Jan. 17. “Draper is applying its expertise in model-based engineering (MBE) trade space analysis to explore performance envelopes of hypersonic systems, as well as to evaluate designs of subsystems. Development in this area is challenging because hypersonic systems require a digital modeling and simulation environment that can simulate the extreme conditions of heat and speed common in hypersonic flight.”

Frank Serna, Draper’s principal director of Air Force Strategic Systems, said in a statement that “a key element of developing hypersonics is implementation of MBE as a cost-effective way to evaluate design concepts before proceeding to build a prototype.”

Draper said that its work on Mayhem “builds on [Draper’s] legacy of support to the U.S. government, which began with Draper’s design of the Apollo Guidance Computer and includes current programs, such as the Trident II (D5) missile.”

AFRL said last month that it received six bids for Mayhem, 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.

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