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Robert Portillo
Robert Portillo

Hypersonic 2 Team Air Crack

However, the race for hypersonic weapons, missiles that can travel at speeds greater than Mach 5, has reignited the interest in boron as a fuel. China has experimented with solid fuel that contains boron nanoparticles for its air-breathing scramjet engines, SCMP said in its report. Even the U.S. Navy has successfully experimented with boron nitride nanotubes in its hypersonic weapons.

hypersonic 2 team air crack


According to the SCMP report, a team from the National University of Defence Technology in Changsha, Hunan Province unveiled a blueprint for the supersonic missile in a peer-reviewed journal of Solid Rocket Technology.

The typical fuel composition of boron-powered missiles contains up to 30 percent of this light metal with other chemicals used to control its ignition occupying the bulk of the weight. The research team has doubled the boron concentration to produce greater thrust in the water.

Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force announced the successful test of an air-launched hypersonic missile on Tuesday, marking a notable shift from three previous failures from the same program. This is now the third successful US test of a hypersonic weapon since September.

The United States recently conducted two successful tests of the other form of modern hypersonic missiles, scramjet-powered cruise missiles, in September of last year and in March. Both Russia and China claim to have hypersonic boost-glide missiles in service, while no nation has managed to field a scramjet-powered cruise missile for operational service to date.

The prevailing wisdom within the Pentagon suggests that simply fielding a similar weapon to Avangard for the sake of winning headlines would offer the US very little strategic value. So, despite taking a beating in the press, the Pentagon is keeping its sight set squarely on adding new capabilities, rather than fielding weapons for the sake of optics. But, the decision to forgo nuclear hypersonic missiles actually creates some significant technical challenges.

Specifically, engineers need detailed information about how airflow changes from "laminar," or smooth, to turbulent as it speeds over an aircraft's surfaces. The information is essential to properly design vehicles that fly at hypersonic speeds, or faster than Mach 5, nearly 4,000 mph, Schneider said.

The X-51 project is led by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the vehicle is being built by Pratt & Whitney and the Boeing Co. Purdue engineers are part of a national team of researchers from government, academia and industry handling different aspects of the vehicle.

The X-51A is a wedge-shaped vehicle with a scooplike cowl on its underbelly, where air rushes into the inlet of the engine's combustor. It is critical for air entering the inlet to be turbulent at hypersonic speeds, or the engine could "unstart," causing it to crash, Schneider said.

The research paper details the first major findings from the quiet wind tunnel after about 18 years of research to perfect the facility, which will be used to analyze the performance of hypersonic vehicles.

Russia fielded the Kinzhal system in 2018, according to expert assessments, and the Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle in 2019. The United States has at least five hypersonic weapons programs in the works across the Air Force, Army, and Navy, plus four programs underway at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Although the United States is pursuing a conventional-only capability, China, which may have deployed its first hypersonic weapon in 2020, and Russia appear to be seeking nuclear or dual-capable hypersonic capabilities.

Given this, members of Congress and defense officials have claimed that Washington has fallen behind Moscow and Beijing and therefore endorsed efforts to accelerate U.S. hypersonic weapons development so as to deploy this capability as soon as possible and catch up with and eventually surpass China and Russia.

The Air Force has requested $162 million for the research and development of the Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) system, one of the first U.S. hypersonic weapons scheduled to enter the field, in fiscal year 2023, which is a $157 million decrease from the 2022 appropriation. In the original budget documents, $47 million of the total ARRW system request was slated for procuring one ARRW system, but the service later decided against any procurement funding due to three test failures in 2021.

The service also requested a second year of funding for a hypersonic weapons program called the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile of $317 million, a 67 percent increase from the 2022 appropriation. Vice Adm. Ron Boxall, director for force structure, resources, and assessment on the Joint Staff, told Congress on March 28 that the missile is slated to be fielded on F-15 fighter jets in 2027.

DARPA is seeking $253 million for its multiple hypersonic weapons R&D programs, a $59 million increase from the 2022 appropriation. These programs include Glide Breaker, Tactical Boost Glide, and MoHAWC, for which it requested $18 million, $30 million, and $60 million, respectively.

The Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) system, a hypersonic air-launched cruise missile, has been completed after flight tests in 2021. MoHAWC is the successor program, with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin as the prime contractors. Each company recently successfully tested its respective version of the HAWC system. (See ACT, May 2022.) Lessons learned from developing the earlier weapon will be incorporated into the MoHAWC cruiser design, according to the budget documents.

Glide Breaker, a design for a hypersonic defense interceptor, is budgeted for a 161 percent increase over its previous appropriation as the program enters a new phase that includes wind tunnel and flight testing.

Meanwhile, the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) requested $226 million for hypersonic missile defense activities, a 22 percent decrease from the previous year. This effort includes $149 million for a system to defeat a hypersonic missile in its glide phase, which involves the development of an interceptor and updates to the Aegis system to incorporate it. The MDA awarded contracts to three companies in 2021 to develop an interceptor prototype. (See ACT, January/February 2022.)

The agency requested $89 million for the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program, which is intended to be a new constellation of satellites for tracking hypersonic missiles in flight and guiding the proposed interceptor to its target. The request is down 67 percent from the 2022 appropriation because the satellite development is complete.

The Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering majors are designated capstone majors. Within their capstone courses, Aerospace Engineering students are exposed to the conceptual and design phases for aircraft development and produce a structural design of a component, such as a lightweight aircraft wing. Mechanical Engineering students work in teams in their capstone courses to propose, design, analyze, and build a mechanical or electromechanical device. Graduates of both programs should be able to apply their knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in technical systems; design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs; function as productive members of a team; identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems; and communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.

The graduate program in fluid mechanics includes experimental, numerical, and theoretical studies related to a range of topics in fluid mechanics, such as turbulent flows, hypersonic flows, microscale and nanoscale flow phenomena, aeroacoustics, bio fluid mechanics, chemically reactive flows, chemical reaction kinetics, numerical methods for computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and experimental methods. The educational program for graduate students provides a strong foundational background in classical incompressible and compressible flows, while providing elective breadth courses in advanced specialty topics such as computational fluid dynamics, microfluidics, bio fluid mechanics, hypersonics, reactive flow, fluid stability, turbulence, and experimental methods.

NAWC-AD, Patuxent River, is the primary test center for Navy air vehicles and installed systems, and provides a sea-level, open-air range with access to 50,000 square miles of air space for conducting flight test operations. The open-air ranges cover regions over Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean along the coastline of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Patuxent River is also home to the Naval Test Wing Atlantic, which includes the United States Navy Test Pilot School and is comprised of more than 130 aircraft. Patuxent River MRTFB test facilities include the Air Combat Environment Test and Evaluation Facility (ACETEF); electromagnetic environmental effects test and evaluation facilities; a dynamic in-flight radar cross section measurement facility; propulsion system evaluation facilities; automatic carrier landing system facility; and shore-based steam catapults and arresting gear. The Lakehurst, New Jersey, site provides support equipment expertise and unique aircraft launch and recovery systems. The Key West, Florida, detachment provides testing of developmental anti-submarine warfare hardware in the open ocean environment.

The Steam Catapult Test Facility was used to test new safety modifications to the Navy's T-45 Goshawk trainer aircraft. The developmental test programs for the E-2C eight-blade propeller system and the SH-60R were also started.

Part of Eglin's 46th Test Wing, the 46th Test Group provides a unique combination of test and evaluation services and state-of-the-art measurement and support facilities for guidance and navigation testing, sled track testing, radar cross section testing, and flight testing. The Central Integrated Guidance Test Facility (CIGTF) is the DoD center of expertise for the test and evaluation of Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), the Global Positioning System (GPS), and blended GPS/INS components and systems in both benign and electronic warfare environments. The Holloman High Speed Test Track (HHSTT) provides the only hypersonic sled test capability in the world and is the DoD's lead track facility and track center of expertise for aircraft escape system testing, full scale lethality testing, electronic countermeasure systems, explosive blast effects, environmental erosion, dispenser testing, and hypersonic environmental testing. The National Radar Cross Section (RCS) Test Facility (NRTF) is a one-of-a-kind facility combining the best monostatic and bistatic RCS measurements. The NRTF is moving toward consolidation with industry and is completing significant technology improvements to address advanced stealth techniques.


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