C4ISR

Air Force, DARPA partner on hypersonic flight initiative

The U.S. Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency are partnering to advance hypersonic flight and development efforts, Military.com reported.

Under a new memorandum of understanding, the joint program will seek to advance research and capabilities for hypersonic flight, which, according to Air Force officials, could revolutionize the future of aviation.

The initiative builds on the X-51A Waverider program. A demonstration flight on May 1 demonstrator achieved a speed of Mach 5.1 at an altitude of 60,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

The X-51A took from the Air Force Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and accelerated to Mach 4.8 in about 26 seconds at 50,000 feet. After separating from its rocket booster, the X-51A’s supersonic combustion ramjet powered the aircraft to Mach 5.1. 

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