This week Boeing revealed the first design details of a demonstrator aircraft that would go faster than Mach 5. Boeing hopes to build the hypersonic concept around a combined-cycle engine that incorporates elements of a turbine and a dual ramjet/scramjet. The unveiling came at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech forum in Orlando, Florida, as reported by Aviation Week Aerospace Daily.
Boeing's model design is similar to one Lockheed Martin is working on. The aerospace industry right now is racing to produce a hypersonic strike and reconnaissance aircraft to replace the famed SR-71 Blackbird.
Design - Concept - Development - Model - Delta
The design is an early concept that's not yet approved by Boeing for full-scale development. But the model, which shows a twin-tail, highly swept delta wing configuration, represents a feasible hypersonic design, Boeing's head of hypersonic research told Aviation Week Aerospace Daily:
“We asked, ‘What is the most affordable way to do a reusable hypersonic demonstrator vehicle?’ And we did our own independent research looking at this question,” says Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing chief scientist for hypersonics. If the concept is selected for full-scale development, Boeing envisions a two-step process beginning with flight tests of an F-16-sized, single-engine proof-of-concept precursor vehicle leading to a twin-engine, full-scale operational vehicle with about the same dimensions as the 107-ft.-long SR-71.
Boeing - Research - Waverider - Experimental - Aircraft
Boeing will expand on research from its past X-43 and X-51 Waverider experimental aircraft, which were tests of unmanned hypersonic planes, as the company refines a new aircraft design. The X-51 broke the record for sustained air-breathing hypersonic flight when it flew at Mach 5.1 for three and a half minutes before running out of fuel and crashing into the Pacific Ocean on May 1, 2013.
The big difference is that the X-51 was a small test vehicle...
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