Posted: August 13, 2019

A U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Air Force Test Center ground test team set a record for the highest thrust produced by an air-breathing hypersonic engine in Air Force history.

“AFRL, in conjunction with Arnold Engineering Development Complex and Northrop Grumman, achieved over 13,000 pounds of thrust from a scramjet engine during testing at Arnold Air Force Base,” said Todd Barhorst, AFRL aerospace engineer and lead for the Medium Scale Critical Components program.

The 18-foot-long Northrop Grumman engine endured a half hour of accumulated combustion time during the 9 months of testing.

“The series of tests, ran in conjunction with AEDC and AFRL, on this fighter-engine sized scramjet was truly remarkable,” said Pat Nolan, Vice President, Missile Products, Northrop Grumman. “The scramjet successfully ran across a range of hypersonic Mach numbers for unprecedented run times, demonstrating that our technology is leading the way in delivering large scale hypersonic platforms to our Warfighters.”

“The plan for a larger and faster hypersonic air-breathing engine was established 10 years ago during the X-51 test program, as the Air Force recognized the need to push the boundaries of hypersonic research,” Barhorst said. “A new engine with 10 times the flow of the X-51 would allow for a new class of scramjet vehicles.”


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