The system would allow a drone to be delivered to a defended target far away in a matter of minutes, where it could then hunt down its target.
The Pentagon tested a loitering munition, more commonly referred to as a suicide drone, last year that will arrive over its designated target area at hypersonic speeds. It has since turned the project over to the U.S. Army for further development. Additional details about the program, dubbed Vintage Racer, have now emerged in an official picture showing Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy discussing it, as well as other advanced weapon systems.
Steve Trimble, Aviation Week‘s Defense Editor and a good friend of The War Zone, first reported on the new details about Vintage Racer after spotting the picture of McCarthy at Association of the U.S. Army’s (AUSA) top annual conference and exhibition in Washington, D.C. last year. The picture was taken on Oct. 14, 2019. The program itself dates back to at least the 2017 Fiscal Year, according to Pentagon budget documents, with the Office of the Secretary of Defense receiving $2.5 million in the 2017 Fiscal Year and another $1.2 million in the 2018 Fiscal Year for the project.
“Vintage Racer matured an advanced capability to prosecute targets of interest,” a brief note about the project in the Pentagon’s 2021 Budget Request says about the program. “The project successfully validated aerodynamic design with wind tunnel testing and integrated a guidance subsystem for targeted kinetic effects before culminating in a FY 2019 flight test. Documentation and prototype technologies transitioned to the U.S. Army for additional development and follow-on acquisition activities.”