The American Air Force after the success of test flights of the first hypersonic aircraft X-51A, have sharpened their appetite for such machines. So they start designing a completely new aircraft that would be able to achieve five times the speed of sound.
The SR-71 Black Bird was one of the fastest man-made aircraft yet, but soon we can look forward to another. The American Air Force has been working on the hypersonic X-51A project for several years, which in 2013 made its first test flight, hitting the world record for the longest hypersonic flight. Now they plan to build another generation of this type of aircraft.
The term “hypersonic” refers to machines that are able to reach Mach 5 Mach 10, which is 5 to 10 times the speed of sound. This type of aircraft, usually a five-hour journey from Los Angeles to New York City, could take just 30 minutes. Unfortunately, technology is not for humans, because the required acceleration would be deadly for living organisms, so the hypersonic machines are designed solely as unmanned.
The Air Force together with DARPA are now working on the construction of another such aircraft, whose propulsion would significantly exceed the speed of Mach 5. Interestingly, engineers involved in the project claim that the costs of such vehicles may be significantly lower than traditional jet aircraft, as engines of this type have significantly less moving parts, which would reduce the cost of their production.
The machine is about to be ready by 2023.