Tag Archives | AFRL

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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Can you hear me now? At Mach 6 it matters

When a test flight lasts only minutes and ends in a fiery plunge into the ocean, you want to make sure the radios work – to ensure telemetry data is safely sent to the ground. So Boeing is testing the antennas for the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s X-51A Scramjet-Waverider hypersonic demonstrator in the anechoic […]

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Northrop takes tailless approach to future airlifter

My former colleague Guy Norris has a story in Aviation Week about Northrop Grumman’s future airlifter work with the US Air Force Research Laboratory. I can’t link to his story, but here’s the gist: Northrop is proposing a tailless flying wing with powered-lift system for AFRL’s Speed Agile technology demonstration to refine the concept of […]

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AFRL’s Speed Agile sets USAF airlift agenda

On the subject of carting 30t of armoured fighting vehicle around the battlefield, the US Air Force’s approach to airlifting the Army’s weight-challenged FCS vehicles has become clearer with release of details of the planned Speed Agile concept demonstration. The cool name reflects the Air Force’s desire for “speed agility”: high lift at low speeds […]

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SpaceShipOne to DropShipOne

The US Marine Corps is still working to gather support for its “troops from space” concept of using a spaceplane to rush a squad from the US to anywhere in the world within 2h, to head off a crisis or take out a bad guy. And the Marines think the nascent space tourism market could […]

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A short guide to hypersonics

Hy-what? Finding it hard to keep all those hypersonics programmes straight? After all, the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s Boeing X-51A waverider, powered by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne’s SJX61 scramjet, is the just latest in a long line. Here is a quick guide to the various recent and current research efforts aimed at air-breathing vehicles […]

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