DARPA completes Hypersonic vehicle test

The American defense agency DARPA has completed the test of an experimental hypersonic vehicle. Now they intend to create weapons based on it.

The artistic concept of the HAWC vehicle. Source: Lockheed Martin

Completion of DARPA tests

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced the completion of flight tests of a hypersonic vehicle. The HAWC experimental vehicle was dropped from the B-52 bomber, it used a rocket accelerator to set the required speed, after which it turned on a scramjet engine.

This was the fourth experimental flight of the HAWC, made according to the program of the same name. In its course, the vehicle covered 556 km and reached an altitude of 18.6 km. The location and exact time of the test remain unknown.

According to DARPA representatives, all the main goals of the HAWC program have been achieved to date. Now they are counting on the launch of the “More Opportunities with HAWC” (MOHAWC) program, which aims to achieve even more amazing results and create an apparatus for the US armed forces.

Hypersonic vehicle as a weapon

Lockheed Martin is also participating in the HAWC program together with DARPA. Together with Aerojet Rocketdyne, they are already developing weapons based on experimental samples. According to their estimates, the last flight marks a victory in this area. Apparently, the end result should be a hypersonic unmanned aerial vehicle.

The new experimental devices are based on a supersonic combustion ramjet (Scramjet). As in conventional propellers, it works thanks to a reactive impulse, which is formed due to the combustion of fuel in the air flow entering its chamber.

But since it operates at speeds significantly higher than most aircraft deal with, all the moving parts of the turbines that they have are scramjet. Air suction and thrust in it occur solely due to the geometry of the nozzle.

Further research will be aimed at improving the scramjet technology and reducing the components of the system. They would complement the test of an American hypersonic missile, a fully combat-ready sample of which flew in December 2022.

According to www.space.com

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