Boeing and the U.S. Air Force have developed a new airplane powered by supersonic combustion ramjet and intended to fly at speeds of more than five times the speed of sound.
The X-51A WaveRider achieved a speed of Mach 5.1 for three and a half minutes during its fourth flight test May 1 and exceed the program’s previous speed record set in 2010, Boeing said Friday.
The WaveRider flew from Edwards Air Force Base in California for more than six minutes with an altitude of 50,000 feet over the Point Mogu sea range.
“This demonstration of a practical hypersonic scramjet engine is a historic achievement that has been years in the making,” said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing’s Phantom Works division.
Davis added the company aims to apply the WaveRider’s technology for future defense systems and space programs.
Boeing, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are partners in the WaveRider program.