Air Force Successfully Tests $300M Hypersonic Plane

When you absolutely, positively, have to blow something up really fast


WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- The final flight of the X-51A Waverider test program has accomplished a breakthrough in the development of flight reaching Mach 5.1 over the Pacific Ocean May 1.

"It was a full mission success," said Charlie Brink, the X-51A program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate.

The cruiser traveled more than 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range, Calif. It was the longest of the four X-51A test flights and the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever. …

This was the last of four test vehicles originally conceived when the $300 million technology demonstration program began in 2004. The program objective was to prove the viability of air-breathing, high-speed scramjet propulsion.