DARPA continues push toward high-speed aircraft with new Integrated Hypersonics program
by Laura Domela
July 10, 2012 at 1:47 PM
DARPA has repeatedly indicated an interest in developing hypersonic aircraft and weapons systems which are capable of Mach-20 speeds and thus able to reach any region of the planet within an hour. To this end, the agency has announced its new Integrated Hypersonics (IH) program, which draws upon previous research and aims to create a hypersonic X-plane (HX) ready for testing by 2016.
In a press release titled "Hypersonics - The New Stealth", DARPA posits the belief that high speed flight will become the next game-changing war technology, much like stealth flight did in previous decades. The finer details of just what form the HX will actually take are still vague at this point, but DARPA did reveal that the aircraft is envisioned as a recoverable next-generation configuration which makes use of rocket-based propulsion in order to facilitate highly maneuverable, long-range hypersonic flight.
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