The Air Force recently broke the record for the highest thrust producing air-breathing hypersonic engine the service has ever tested in its history.
Northrop Grumman built the scramjet engine for the Air Force Research Laboratory and its development comes amid a general renaissance in all things hyper-sonic across the U.S. military.
on Aug. 5, 2019, The Air Force Research Laboratory announced the achievement but did not say specifically when it had occured.
AFRL and Northrop Grumman had tested the 18-foot long fighter-engine sized scramjet powerplant across a nine-month period. The engine ran for a total of 30 minutes across an unspecified number of tests, generating up to 13,000 pounds of thrust under conditions the engine would experience at speeds of above Mach 4.
The testing occured at the Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s (AEDC) Aerodynamic and Propulsion Test Unit at Arnold Air Force Base in Tennessee.
“The series of tests … on this fighter-engine sized scramjet was truly remarkable,” Pat Nolan, Northrop Grumman’s Vice President for Missile Products said in a statement. “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.”
It is worth noting that while the Air Force’s official release described the engine running at “conditions above Mach 4,” hypersonic speed is typically described as being Mach 5 and above. As such, the actual conditions during at least some of the testing may have been more extreme.
For more Details: The Warzone