How fast you think the fastest airplane on Earth could go? Google it, and you will be amazed to see the best flight speed records being held by the grandpa generation of air vehicles. Nevertheless, with today’s technology and competition between the countries to have the best and the fastest tech, the record charts would be seeing a new arrival soon.
The project is planned to pan out by 2023. Air Force has previously had successful hypersonic test flight of the X-51 Waverider in May 2013, and they intend to build upon, an improvised version of Waverider.
X-51 Waverider, a mere scram jet engine that was launched from a B-52H Stratofortress and accelerated to Mach 4.8 in just 28 seconds. As the jet climbed to 60,000 feet, it clocked Mach 5.1 only to run out of fuel after its 240 seconds stint in the air and splashed in the Pacific. Reaching Mach 5 was a big achievement, but the fact that it was launched from an air carrier and not from a traditional runway has led to the new collaboration between Air Force and DARPA.
However, developing a design for a full-fledged aircraft that could reach Mach 5 is not that easy. Air Force Chief Scientist Mika Endsley said:
This technology could also be deployed to carry equipment in the emergency situation like a disaster and not to forget the weaponry if required. Well, it’s not just America that wants hypersonic air vehicles, apparently China has also been testing advanced hypersonic missiles.
The hypersonic airplanes are yet to come till next decade and can take you from New York to Los Angeles in just 30 minutes. If you have an emergency intercontinental business meet to attend, you’ll be there in just 4 hrs. But here comes a bummer: the acceleration that the Mach 5 plane requires would make it scientifically impossible for humans to travel inside it.
Don’t get your hopes down so early. With the technology being upgraded so fast, I doubt the fact that human transportation at Mach 5 would even considered a problem in future. What do you think?