Washington (PTI): The US military is developing a next-generation hypersonic jet plane that could fly at up to five times the speed of sound – faster than a bullet.
The jet that could take flight by 2023 builds upon research from a 2013 test flight of an experimental hypersonic vehicle, the X-51A Waverider.
The unmanned Waverider reached a top speed of Mach 5.1, more than five times the speed of sound, in just over six minutes, before it was intentionally crashed into the Pacific Ocean.
The US Air Force officials said at the time the flight was the longest-ever for a hypersonic vehicle of its kind, ‘Live Science’ reported. However, the military’s new hypersonic vehicle will go even further, Mica Endsley, the Air Force’s chief scientist, told Military.com.
Engineers in the Air Force and the Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) will take into account materials that can work well at hypersonic speeds.
They are also working on guidance systems that are smart enough to point the plane in the right direction quickly, Endsley added.