View Full Version : X-51A ScramJet cruise missile

Dr Mordrid
22nd November 2006, 00:40


The X-51A will be an air-launched expendable missile powered by a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet engine. This engine has been in development by P&W since at least 2000 under the AFRL's HySET (Hypersonic Scramjet Engine Technology) program, a part of the USAF's overall HyTech (Hypersonic Technology) effort. A prototype, the GDE-1 (Ground Demonstration Engine 1), has already been ground-tested between September 2002 and June 2003 at simulated air speeds between Mach 4.5 and 6.5. Originally the AFRL had planned to fly the P&W engine on NASA's X-43C vehicle, but that program was cancelled in March 2004. It's possible that the SED-WR program was started early to have a follow-on project up and running in the case of a (possibly anticipated) cancellation of the X-43C.

The X-51A will be launched by a B-52 at about 10700 m (35000 ft), and accelerated to the Mach 4.5 scramjet ignition speed by the solid-propellant rocket motor of a surplus MGM-140 ATACMS missile. Estimated target speed for the X-51A is between Mach 6 and 7. The first flight is tentatively scheduled for late 2008, but the total number of planned flights (and number of vehicles to be built) has not been announced.

22nd November 2006, 04:40
Image not worky again.

Dr Mordrid
22nd November 2006, 10:58

Jon P. Inghram
22nd November 2006, 11:55
Nice, but it doesn't quite compare to SLAM (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersonic_Low_Altitude_Missile). Of course, air launching that one might be a tad impractical, but it'd be impressive to see! ;)