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Video – Killer Bee: flying wing with a sting

I have a soft spot for the blended wing, and Swift Engineering is keeping the dream alive with its cool-looking Killer Bee UAV. Not surprisingly, perhaps, as Swift’s chief scientist Mark Page was technical programme manager on McDonnell Douglas’ Blended Wing Body. Boeing and NASA continue to work on the BWB, flying the X-48B unmanned […]

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GE patents pulse-detonation core for a turbofan

On the subject of PDEs – pulse detonation engines – General Electric has just been assigned a US patent for a turbofan that uses a rotating pulse-detonation system, rather than low- and high-pressure turbines, to drive the fan and compressor. Basically, each turbine stage is replaced by a radial array of raked and angled pulse-detonation […]

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First flight for PDE = pretty darned extraordinary

It’s not every day a new form of propulsion makes its first flight: the turbojet in August 1939 (Heinkel He178), the ramjet in April 1949 (Leduc 010), the scramjet in July 2002 (University of Queensland HyShot). Now it’s the turn of the pulsed detonation engine (PDE) – a simple, lightweight powerplant that promises efficient operation […]

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Blackswift breaks cover – DoD funds hypersonic aircraft

The Pentagon boffins have been keeping mum, but the DoD’s fiscal year 2009 budget request lifts the lid on Blackswift – DARPA’s prototype hypersonic aircraft. Formerly the Falcon HTV-3X, and being designed by Lockheed’s Skunk Works, the unmanned Blackswift is intended to take off conventionally on turbojet power, transition to scramjets, cruise at Mach 6 […]

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Visual aerodynamics – hypervelocity!

I am thinking of starting an occasional series on “visual aerodynamics” – images that show the air at work, creating lift and generating drag. What better way to start than these stills from high-speed video of the US Naval Research Organisation’s January 31 test of the world’s most powerful electromagnetic railgun. Not aviation perhaps, but […]

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Something stylish to wear for that suborbital hop

Orbital Outfitters has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first commercial spacesuit. The catchily named Industrial Suborbital Space Suit Crew, or IS3C, is intended for those “lucky” enough to fly the first suborbital spaceships. The company says it has a contract to deliver the first set of suits to XCOR Aerospace, which is developing […]

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High-tech satcom keeps Israeli F-16Is connected

Not where you would expect to see it. but Israel’s Elta brought its EL/K-1981 satellite communications system to the US Army show in Washington DC this week. This is the satcom fitted to Israeli F-16I Sufas, to provide wideband beyond line-of-sight communications. Now where would that have come in useful recently, I wonder? Satcom antenna […]

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