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USAF Hypersonic Scramjet Successfully Scrams

timothy posted about a year ago | from the perhaps-that's-scrams-jet dept.

The Military 201

cold fjord writes "It looks like another milestone for hypersonic flight has been reached. From the story: '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 . . ."It was a full mission success," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate. The cruiser traveled over 230 nautical miles in just over six minutes over the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range. 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. The X-51A is unique primarily due to its use of a hydrocarbon fuel in its supersonic combustion ramjet, or Scramjet, engine. ... The use of logistically supportable hydrocarbon fuel is widely considered vital for the practical application of hypersonic flight.'"

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201 comments

Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about a year ago | (#43633193)

Mach 5.1...

Was that a Whooosh as it went over my head or just a bang as the compressed sound finally caught up?

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (-1, Troll)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about a year ago | (#43633227)

Don't feel too cocky yet, my American friend. The difference between America and China is that China doesn't make the headlines with such a military/scientific/technical achievement. When time will come, they'll show up..

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (4, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43633251)

Really?

They supposedly are having trouble buying plain jet engines for their fighters, so they haven't even got to cloning jet engines at a reasonably high level.

I suppose they'll steal the plans for making one once the US perfects it.

Or did you mean that China is close to developing it on their own, in secret?

Way to go! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633301)

The way you're framing it, you consider the Chinese your opponents (the more "sports-like" view, hopefully) or your enemies (the more military view, less hopefully).

In any way...

I suppose they'll steal the plans for making one once the US perfects it.

you are underestimating your opponents. Mistake number one. Way to go!

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#43633605)

I don't think it matters. They have more people and fewer ethics. In an all out war I don't think one super jet will help America that much. The battle will be balanced if not in their favour unless the US decides to throw everything at them possibly including nukes. My feeling is the Chinese would have more to prove than the US and will fight harder.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (2, Insightful)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | about a year ago | (#43633683)

Yeah, this makes sense because America is the most ethical country on the planet.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (4, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43633705)

I realize it is fun to shit on America (and America does have its faults) but that wasn't their statement. Their statement was that China is less ethical. Beating up on strawmen is easy but isn't very intellectually stimulating.

It's not a strawman. (3, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | about a year ago | (#43634225)

He's just pointing out that "lees ethical" is a comparison.

So, less ethical than who or what?
You seem to acknowledge that it's not the USA, with it's faults and all.
Such an acknowledgment would actually recognize the original poster's ethics comment as a strawman.

Cause... If it's not USA and China ethics we're comparing, tossing in ethics is a meaningless digression in a form of a generalization that borders on chauvinist propaganda on one side and racism on the other.
"Chinese have fewer ethics! BAM! We've beaten them on the moral battlefield already!"

A strawman if I ever saw one.
Though, in OP's defense, probably an unconscious one.
Heck, his post is actually praising Chinese an prophesying them as winners or at least on the same level as the USA, in some imaginary battle.

It's just that Chinese have been memed into that position of inherently lower morality through centuries of sinophobic propaganda.
They've been yellow peril and godless commies for generations (and if that doesn't mean they have no morals...).
It's perfectly understandable that they are also nothing but thieves and copiers of other people's tech and makers of cheap junk practically incapable of creativity.
And that they would fight harder and with fewer ethics - i.e. fight dirty.

Re:It's not a strawman. (4, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43634419)

It appears obvious that the comparison was the ethics of the United States in comparison with those of China. Given the state of affairs and some of the ethics violations going on (or in the recent past) here in American government it is a truly sad statement when I am able to point out that China's ethics are demonstrably worse than America's.

I mean, yeah, I get it - more so than people may think. America has had some serious ethical violations recently and I believe our country is less because of them. I am ashamed and dishonored on behalf of my country. What we have done is horrific and may have consequences for years to come. I believe that our continued meddling as self-designated World Police is going to continue having detrimental effects well into the lives of my grand children and perhaps even great grand children (longer if we don't make some serious policy changes soon).

However, yeah, China is demonstrably worse than America by every possible metric one can come up with. The only way one could be convinced it is otherwise is to be completely delusional or intellectually dishonest.

Either way, it appeared to be an obvious comparison of ethics between the United States and China and that's where I was going from.

Finally, I am unable to decide which is worse. If their strawman was unintentional then that's rather ignorant. If their strawman was intentional then that's pretty dishonest. I see strawmen and a lot of people assuming either/or (I can't recall the Latin name of the logical fallacy at the moment) being tossed around /. lately. I haven't any states and it could be confirmation bias on my part but I'm seeing an increase in both of those here as of late and that's a drawback in my opinion.

I guess that wasn't the final bit - I feel obligated to continue though it is off-topic.

Anyhow, as I mentioned, I've noticed a lot of those logical fallacies lately and I'm disappointed. One of the things I pride myself on is being open to debate and to being able to change my mind when I'm faced with new information. That's something that was re-enforced by Slashdot actually. In the days of old I came to Slashdot and I made my argument and, sometimes, I got my ass handed to me as people piled on with the various logical arguments that they had. They'd debate with well-reasoned and well articulated responses quite frequently.

From this, from you, I learned to be more logical myself. I learned to view my arguments with suspicion and to examine them more clearly before postulating them.

These days it seems those debates and learning experiences are rare. Seldom do experts opine from behind their obscure education. It seems that there are fewer posting who have a profession in academia while more people are posting with little thought to accuracy, honesty, and logic. The signal to noise ratio has increased and reasoned debate is rarer. Fewer people are willing to change their views even when shown the faulty logic and the accurate conclusions.

It is disappointing though it isn't disappointing enough for me to do the whole threaten to leave or whine about it thing. (I hope it doesn't seem like whining, I'm just observing and reminiscing.) No, I'll remain here and continue posting and learning. The chances to learn may be less in number but they are still there. I make it a point to be grateful and to make my gratitude known when someone posts something of considerable value. I also have excellent karma and get an abundance of mod points so I try to moderate fairly and use that to help with the signal to noise ratio. So, there's that.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | about a year ago | (#43633997)

The US government certainly isn't a perfect government in terms of ethics (and other things) but it's ridiculous to claim they're on the same level as China. That's not to say china is the worst country on the planet either.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43633685)

It's been an effort spread across many parts of the globe since the 1980s. I saw a working scramjet model in 1987 in a small city in Australia for instance. It's only some of the fine details from the last decade that are not publicly available.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633263)

In the past year China successfully completed it's first landing on an aircraft carrier, something we did so long ago all the people who were there at the time have died of old age and boredom.

The second China attacked the US or one of it's assets, the US Government would call it's debt to China null and void and forbid any trade with them. Since we are their largest trading partner, and the greatest supplier of money to their economy, that would have extreme reprocutions on their ability to not just wage war, but feed their own people or keep the lights on at night.

That's not to mention that unless you count attacking their own population, there isn't a single soldier or officer in the entire nation of China with one minute of field experience in an actual battle.

The chineese are great at copying others, stealing ideas, but coming up with their own ideas is something that they have struggled with in the modern era. That would come to hurt them in a war because stealing the enemy's weapons to use against them means you're using weapons the enemy knows intimately and knows the weaknesses of intimately. Stopping those weapons would be easier than stopping weapons which were developed in China.

China has virtually no navy. Standing between China and the US is a whole lot of very deep water "owned "by the US Navy. That's a HUGE hurdle to jump. Just ask Kim Jong $CURRENT_JERK who would love nothing more than to fire a rocket over that deep wet expanse.

Nobody is afraid of China. The difference in America and China is that we spend the money to have the tools and men to reach out and flex our will when needed. (And sometimes, when unneeded as the case may be)

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (4, Insightful)

Nikker (749551) | about a year ago | (#43633303)

If you think China has some kind of mailing list that covers exactly what they are doing you have got to be the most naive person on the net. Personally I don't know of any uber projects they have but sitting behind a computer and saying they are 40+ years behind tech and still fight with bamboo sticks you are really giving yourself a disservice. I just realize the likely hood that China really doesn't like the west all that much and they would love you to think they are just training their troops in a new kind of Kung-Fu.

China has an emmense population of genius level citizens and have basically perfected mass production. Hell most of the top talent in the US is Chinese decent. As for the money spent on defense you have to remember China is basically Communist, they don't have to pay your ass to build shit. So just because you heard a news wire that China just built a prop plane pull your head out of your ass and wake up to reality. If this shit does get serious it will become overwhelmly serious quick. The Middle East has problems with the US, the far East has problems with the US and your dumbass is sitting back just playing these guys off.

That my friend is a dumbass thing to do.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633403)

The middle east has the same problem china has: The US Navy and lots of deep, deep water inbetween us and their hatred.

Mass producing american goods != coming up with new ones of their own. I don't think they're still fighting with bamboo sticks. I think they're fighting with Su-30 aircraft with a range of 3k miles and the j-20 with a range of 1,400 miles. They have a single aircraft carrier, but only a handful of either have a navallanding package. Their main battle tank was developed during the cold war and probably does not have active armor as all pictures of them have been shown with blocks of laminate armor (it's larger than active armor) and relies on lazer dazzlers to block incoming mistles, but cannot stop heat seaking, GPS guided, or visually guided weapons. It's a joke, but they have lots and lots of them.

Their infantry fights with the type 88 LMG, Type 81 (AK Clone), and QBZ-95 bullpup. The first two are great guns, the last is crap according to all reports I've ever seen. Either way, they have no soldiers with experience using them while people are shooting back and no way to get those soldiers to our shores.

They can launch mistles at us, but we can drop many of them into that large, wet ocean I've previously mentioned. Those that do make it to the US would be retaliated against with our own mistles which the chinese have no way of shooting down. They can launch chemical and nuclear weapons, but as Pearl Harbor and 9/11 both showed the world, when you attack the US, the US attacks back at a much higher ratio. We have the equipment and the men who are willing to use them. We have armies of volunteer citizen soldiers instead of conscripted subjects. Citizens fight much harder than subjects and run away far less often.

I sith "back just playing these guys off" after a long carrer sitting in wet damn holes with a rifle in my hand. I'm a nerd and slashdotter as a hobby, war has always been my profession. When I speak of war, it's as an expert, not an armchair general.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633485)

Oh, they can launch mistles at us? Are they gonna put mistletoe over our doorways and smooch us to death? Because there is nothing more disgusting than a plebe moron who can't spell and a filthy Chinaman or Arab (complete with non-virgin asshole) who wants to rape other men.

You should be ashamed of yourself, fuckface.

Sharks with lasers, etc.... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633585)

"Mistles", eh?

So now the TLAs are secretly training Mistles [wikipedia.org] to home in on the hated enemy? At least they're a good choice, the poor little bird ranges "over all of Europe and much of Asia. Many northern birds move south during the winter", perhaps this new strain of Avian flu that seems to be affecting a part of Asia is the result of an ongoing proof of concept exercise?

As for conscript armies, ill-trained or otherwise, just consider the use of human wave tactics. In Korea the US and its Allies were technically more advanced, but got pushed back to the current border by the Chinese and North Koreans pouring bodies into the fight. And that war still festers today, still heaving bile some 60 years later. What about 'nam? The casualty phobia engendered by that adventure still has the ability to spook the US. Getting a bit more modern we have the Iran Iraq war in the 80s, both sides threw people into the battlefield like confetti, to little effect. Admittedly they were techinically similar so the death rate was immense without any gain. My point is, you can have the worlds greatest volunteer army and still be overwhelmed by the army of a nation that has a resident population that exceeds your own by 300% or so, controls their media and can afford to soak up the casualties. As far as the US is concerned, there could be no repatriation of the fallen of such a conflict, there would be too many for the organisation to cope with, and a sentimental stay-at-home public would be horrified by the waves of bodies and bits of bodies that would otherwise return. "Some corner of a foreign field", eh?

You say you've been a practicing grunt and know of what you speak; "war is your profession". Well, good for you but you probably don't have the same degree of empathy with your fellow civilians as with your comrades in arms. Its well known that professionals can be blinkered and if we want a military example, the conflict of 1914-18 demonstrates that in spades on both sides. Lets be a little less gung-ho,eh?

Re:Sharks with lasers, etc.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633795)

As for conscript armies, ill-trained or otherwise, just consider the use of human wave tactics. In Korea the US and its Allies were technically more advanced, but got pushed back to the current border by the Chinese and North Koreans pouring bodies into the fight.

People fight harder for their own land, than an invader does. And only the invader have problems at home with "too many boys gets killed in this war". No such problem for the invaded.

Which is why the U.S. has trouble fighting abroad, even with superior weapons. A Chinese invasion would be very different. There would be no political pressure to spend less (lives or money) on repelling them. There are 4x as many chinese, but then there are the superior weapons . . .

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43633717)

It isn't that I don't agree with your conclusions but if you're an expert and not an armchair general why would you be unable to spell "missile?" It seems strange to claim to be an expert but to be unfamiliar with the basic tools involved in that field.

3 for 3 (2, Insightful)

justthinkit (954982) | about a year ago | (#43634115)

3 replies. 3 complaints about the spelling of a single word. Without bothering to read the initial point, or any of the 3 replies, further, I award the point to the parent post.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43633923)

China has an emmense population of genius level citizens and have basically perfected mass production.

This is funny! The Company I worked for sent several china manufacturers clear plans that were accurate for a product, a LED replacement for a 4' fluorescent fixture.

We ordered a case as a trial from 8 different manufacturers there, They knew that we would order 100,000 more if the product was right and good.

7 of the companies made them in the wrong size. 1 inch too long, 1 inch too short, one looked like they used people with hacksaws as none of the cuts on the extruded aluminum was straight. etc.. Pretty much all of them were garbage from all makers. 1 had them the right length but designed them for 120V AC and not the 208 volts that is common in office buildings here and was PRINTED CLEARLY ON THE DRAWINGS and in the specification documentation that was very clear.

I am guessing that the China definition of "perfection" is not what we see in Europe or in the USA.

No they cant manufacture anything "perfect"..

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

Nikker (749551) | about a year ago | (#43634553)

Maybe you think your order of 10,000 light bulbs was significant but consider that Walmart, Target, Apple, Foxcon and many, many others buy and sell that before the greeters put on their vests. Your a small fry my friend and you got the bussiness like a small fry. 10K of something might seem like a big deal to you but you mean as much to them as a basement dweller does to Intel.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43634529)

I really wanted to read your comment, but it is replete with errors. You'll get much farther communicating with others if you work on your use of correct spelling, correct word choices, and correct punctuation (any particular style of punctuation will work as long as it is consistent and correct for that style).

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633581)

Wow, your comments are pretty funny.

Explain how declaring debt "null an void" would not lead to an economic collapse? Can i assume you are aware the US runs a massive deficit every year? Seems not long ago the daily news topic was all about the "fiscal clif". I beleive the debt ceiling was raised to address this. Then you have the whole "massive cuts all across the board" and QE1, QE2 and QE3.

I think you have your next statement backwards as well. Since they are major lenders, if they have no ability to lend how will the US will pay for its army? Not sure how many soldiers are willing to work for free, but I'd guess not enough? They keep their lights on at night via their coal power plants, which they mine on their own soil.

it would be similar to the Vietnam war in that internal pressure will cause a quick resolution. The US citizens will lose all their cheep good manufactured in China, and due to public pressure the "war" wouldn't last long.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#43634039)

"Nobody is afraid of China"? Oh? Have you quizzed the Japanese, Taiwanese, Vietnamese, Laotians (ask about the new dams China plans on rivers flowing into Laos), Burma (similar water hegemony fears), India (they have found a way to revive their border conflict now that China is moving into contested territory), Filipinos (check out the S. China Sea claims of China), etc.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (2)

MugenEJ8 (1788490) | about a year ago | (#43633265)

Don't feel too cocky yet, my American friend. The difference between America and China is that China doesn't make the headlines with such a military/scientific/technical achievement. When time will come, they'll show up..

Okay, fair enough... but seriously. This is the tech the United States Government is letting the public sector show off. We haven't had a public breakthrough weapons technology as good as megaton nukes, since the 60's. Not that China hasn't done its share of economic catch up, but I'm sure there's a lot of powerful tech available to our governments and they've not been needed lately.

Don't care who shows it off... travelling over 1km/s in our atmosphere at that efficiency is bloody outstanding. These guys deserve all the pats on the back they get...

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (5, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43633329)

We haven't had a public breakthrough weapons technology as good as megaton nukes, since the 60's.

I don't think that is correct. The impact of precision guided munitions has already had a huge impact, and it continues to grow. The following except refers to events around Operation Desert Storm in 1992. At that time precision guided munitions were largely bombs and missiles, and a few expensive anti-tank artillery rounds. Now that capability is finding its way to more mundane artillery and mortars as well, not to mention much smaller missiles. The devices are becoming smaller, lighter, more precise, easier to use, and cheaper, so there will be a lot more of then in the future. A large strike by precision weapons could easily reverse the tide of battle in a way that nothing short of a nuclear weapon could in the past. Compared to nukes there are few drawbacks and many substantial advantages, such as not contaminating the battlefield and the fact that their use doesn't really have any of the political problem that nuclear weapons have.

IMPACT OF PRECISION WEAPONS ON AIR COMBAT OPERATIONS [af.mil]

We are writing a new and exciting chapter on air power--a chapter made possible in part by precision guided munitions (PGM). Air power advocates have long dreamed of a day when the weapon, platform, and willingness to use them properly would come together to make air power a decisive force. Today, those dreams are reality. One need only look back to our raids on Schweinfurt, Germany, in World War II to see how dramatically precision weapons have enhanced our capabilities over the last 50 years. Two raids of 300 B-17 bombers could not achieve with 3,000 bombs what two F-117s can do with only four. Precision weapons have truly given a new meaning to the term mass.

To shut down an industry in World War II, we were forced to target entire complexes because of the inaccuracy of our weapons; today we would need to hit only a couple of key buildings. What we historically achieved with volume we now can accomplish with precision. After all, the objective has never been to see how many bombs we could drop, but to produce results.

Precision weapons may also constitute a revolution in mobility. Of the 85,000 tons of bombs used in the Gulf War, only 8,000 tons (less than 10 percent) were PGMs, yet they accounted for nearly 75 percent of the damage. If we had wanted to, we could have airlifted all of our PGMs with just five C-5s or nine C-141s a day.2 . . . more [af.mil]

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (-1, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year ago | (#43633405)

To shut down an industry in World War II, we were forced to target entire complexes because of the inaccuracy of our weapons; today we would need to hit only a couple of key buildings.

Oh.
So THIS is why during WWII you have spent so much effort bombing cities in Germany and Japan that were full of civilians and had absolutely no military value. My bad, I thought, it was because you were stupid, hate-filled cowards who loved killing people and would not notice military strategy if it punched you in the face.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633431)

the fact that you're typing in english instead of dead in a hole somewhere is thanks to those stupid, hate-filled cowards who love(d) killing people.

We killed those people, because the alternative was to not kill anyone and allow our enemies to kill everyone. War is ugly, people die, that's why it's called war and not tea. The fact that you're calling Americans cowards who wouldn't notice military strategy if it punched us in the face tells me you have never served a day in combat.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (2)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year ago | (#43633437)

I am Russian. Don't even try this shit on me.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633461)

You're Russian? The words: "Kettle", "Pot", and "Black" come to mind....

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year ago | (#43633509)

Russians didn't bomb nearly to the ground such important military targets as Dresden, Munich, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki (and that's just the above mentioned WWII).

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (3, Interesting)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43633737)

That's probably because they didn't have an effective bomber in that range.

Shall we speak of soldiers raping citizens and massive atrocities against prisoners of war or would you rather close the conversation now and accept your defeat? You're going to claim ethics and try to claim the moral high ground as a Russian? Really? Some of us know our history.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633471)

"I am Russian"

So you have your own atrocities then to account for. During the time of Stalin we saw as much as10 million dead in various purges and famines, and that's just one example. Yes, you are Russian, well I know Russian history, clean up your own house before you come in here and preach.

And we note you fail to respond to any of the points made at all.

If there is anything I know about Russians it is this; never trust a Russian.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0, Flamebait)

Alex Belits (437) | about a year ago | (#43633553)

So you have your own atrocities then to account for. During the time of Stalin we saw as much as10 million dead in various purges and famines, and that's just one example.

Nice tricks, combining natural disasters with actual victims of Stalin's rule. At least you have tried to disguise the real number of Stalin's victims -- about 2 millions, over 30 years, in the country of almost 200 millions at the time -- less than most shitty leaders that Americans touted as heroes.

However my point is, I owe you, or your ancestors NOTHING as far as their disgusting behavior in WWII, and specifically their bombing of civilians was concerned. It was pointless massacre, performed because it was easy, and it looked like fighting a war, however it was not nearly as risky as actually taking some territory, or disabling some infrastructure, leave alone, killing people who are actually fighting for Nazi.

Writing a paper about weapons and claiming that it was poor precision that caused Americans to bomb civilians in their homes, tens and hundreds miles away from anything military-related, is pure idiocy that reveals militant denial of monstrous idiocy committed in the past.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43633699)

To make things even worse they are bringing up all this "USA forever" shit over an Australian invention. I first saw a scramjet nozzle in 1987 which was probably twenty years before the US airforce showed any interest. Even by then it had already been tested at mach 6 in a shock tunnel and was producing a lot of thrust.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43633871)

Four things. First, Professor Ray Stalker is indeed a credit to Australia and I look forward to his continued success.

Second, the article is about the successful test of a US Air Force test vehicle. They are entitled to celebrate their success.

Third, your history is a bit off.

Scramjets integrate air and space [aip.org]

Scramjets have a long and active development history in the United States. On the basis of theoretical studies started in the 1940s, the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and NASA began developing scramjet engines in the late 1950s. Since then, many hydrogenand hydrocarbon-fueled engine programs have helped scramjet technology evolve to its current state. The most influential of these efforts was NASA’s National Aerospace Plane (NASP) program, established in 1986 to develop a vehicle with speed greater than Mach 15 and horizontal takeoff and landing capabilities. The program ended in 1993, but the original NASP engine design, significantly modified by NASA, provided the foundation for the power plant used during the X-43A’s recent flight.

Fourth, you diminish yourself when you associate yourself with Alex Belits' bile filled, historically illiterate, diatribes.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43633743)

Yeah, we should have left those civilians alive so your side could get them in some rapin' time.

It's war, we kill people. That includes civilians if we believe we can get them to convince their government to call off the war sooner. How did you guys treat those prisoners of war? How is a man-made disaster a natural disaster? How did all those rapes of German women affect the war effort anyhow?

This is seriously not a game you can win or a claim you can make and get away with. The truth has great power to defend itself.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#43634049)

Yep, after what Stalin did to the USSR, my guess is you folks aren't that scared of death at all.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | about a year ago | (#43634157)

Well those bombed Germans and Japanese civilians must have known something you don't because at end of the war they were falling all over each other to surrender to the US and western allies rather than be overrun by the Russians.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year ago | (#43633761)

They found out that Germans were pretty good at rebuilding bombed factories. It takes much longer to replace a bombed civilian.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633421)

Haven't had a public breakthrough? We developed the MOAB... That sucker has the power of a nuke, only we don't have to wear NBC suits when we roll in an hour later.

GPS and laser guided bombs, bombs that can travel completely around the world on their own, drones which kill targets witout putting human lives in risk, multicam clothing which renders soldiers virtually invisible at anything over a few yards, rifles which can shoot over a mile, rifles which shoot virtually silently, rifles which shoot virtually silently over a mile, submarines which are completely silent, aircraft which are undetectible on radar, artillery and tanks which can fire over the horizon, automatic artillery which can be dropped out of the back of an airplane, land right side up, and fire at targets without a single soldier's footprint in the soil, mistles which shoot down other mistles... and that's just off the top of my head.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about a year ago | (#43633369)

Don't feel too cocky yet, my American friend. The difference between America and China is that China doesn't make the headlines with such a military/scientific/technical achievement. When time will come, they'll show up..

Although it is possible they'll invent their own - assuming they feel a need to have it - the more likely outcome is they'll wait till it is perfected by the US and then use espionage to steal the design and make their own copy. In the unlikely event that the US is able to foil the Chinese attempt at stealing the design, the Russians will probably build their own at some point and the Chinese will steal it from them. It is an old pattern.

China also has more than 3,000 front companies in the U.S. “for the sole purpose of acquiring our technology,” . . . [bloomberg.com]
Inside the Chinese Boom in Corporate Espionage [businessweek.com]
Chinese Army Directing Cyber Espionage Against Western Businesses [forbes.com]
China military unit 'behind prolific hacking' [bbc.co.uk]
The China Problem [airforcemag.com]

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633385)

I don't think China is worried about the US military. Nor is China looking to start a fight. The reason China has such a large military is to maintain domestic order. I will bet you that 90% of their military thinking is how to prevent a rebellion. And they don't need scramjets to do that.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (3, Informative)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#43633915)

This whole thread ^ is the reason why we have Governments. If regular people were left in charge, the entire world would be choking to death from a Nuclear Winter.

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43634563)

I don't think you realize that governments are led by people...

Re:Goodness me! Was that a Whooosh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633885)

I'll feel cocky about it. Seeing as to the quality of china made knockofffs.. 4 foot flouresent bulbs that are a full inch shorter, It seems that the China manufacturers cant do math or use a ruler as we send them the required length in a very clear CAD drawing that was set up for metric. There was no excuse.

China to make a scramjet? That is completely and utterly laughable.

Oh and remember why the japanese did not invade the USA. they were afraid that every single citizen is armed to the teeth. Unless our leaders go full retard and ban guns, we will be armed to the teeth and pretty much decimate China's army overnight.

Unless you guys are shipping them over with the cockroaches in the TV's already, you will never ship enough of them to make it more than a 1/2 mile in from the shoreline.

That's the last unit (2)

a_hanso (1891616) | about a year ago | (#43633231)

That's the last of 4 test units built and there's no immediate successor to the program (TFA). Thank god it worked.

Re:That's the last unit (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43633591)

Don't worry. China already has hypersonic missiles, and India/Russia are jointly developing one. The US will be forced to develop something comparable, although you might have to wait for the Republicans to get back in.

Re:That's the last unit (1)

gtall (79522) | about a year ago | (#43634069)

Wait for the Republicans? Have you listened to Rand Paul or the Svengali of the Republicans, Grover Norquist? These guys are essentially isolationists and figure the U.S. doesn't need much of military because the rest of the world will leave us alone if we leave it for the Chinese to rule.

longest flight.... (4, Informative)

WoOS (28173) | about a year ago | (#43633295)

A short definition for all those non-native speakers who wonder - like me - how 6 minutes of flight are more than hours of flight by a Concorde:

Supersonic: Above speed of sound but only up to Mach 5
Hypersonic: Above Mach 5

The fact that both the latin Super [latinwordlist.com] and the greek Hyper [answers.com] translate into the same word does not really help the distinction.

Re:longest flight.... (1, Interesting)

binsamp (1545097) | about a year ago | (#43633325)

"who wonder - like me - how 6 minutes of flight are more than hours of flight by a Concorde:" The SR-71 Blackbird first flight was on 22 December 1964, 49 years ago. It flies at Mach 3.3 for hours. Now, ~50 years later, a missile flies at Mach 5.1 for 6 minutes. That is a 50% increase in speed in ~50 years. This is hardly the tremendous breakthrough that is claimed.

Re:longest flight.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633361)

It's the first success with a radically new regime of flight surface/engine. The SR-71 was the evolution of the Wright Flier pushed to its very limit (well, the ramjet represents a slight break, but not a tremendous leap).

Once you start getting a long way over the speed of sound combustion cannot propagate fast enough to push you along. Your airfoils don't work the same at supersonic speeds either.

The principles on which slower than air flight works don't really apply over about mach 3. A scramjet produces lift in a different way, the engine is based on different principles. Your engine is this bizarre thing which is formed partly by the airflow around the aircraft and much of the useful combustion/fuel heating happens on the outside in order to stop your intake melting.

A working scramjet allows evolution from that platform (ie. now that there is one to modify, you can tweak it to get the ignition speed down, the thrust up, and so on). They're also the only other option to rockets that can provide a meaningful amount of energy to a spacecraft (learn the rocket equation, then realise that your propellant in an air breathing engine comes pretty close to free to understand why this could make a big difference).

Re:longest flight.... (3, Insightful)

hazee (728152) | about a year ago | (#43633603)

The SR-71 was the evolution of the Wright Flier pushed to its very limit (well, the ramjet represents a slight break, but not a tremendous leap).

I think you'll find that the jet engine was a "tremendous leap" over the Wright Flier...

Re:longest flight.... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#43633939)

Also the fact that Air is no longer Air but more like water at those speeds. Around Mach 10 it starts to act like brick walls.

ok. but will they still have shitty airline food? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43634491)

mach 8 is great. but if i have to wait 2 hours in line id still rather take a train.

Re:longest flight.... (5, Informative)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about a year ago | (#43633467)

Now, ~50 years later, a missile flies at Mach 5.1 for 6 minutes. That is a 50% increase in speed in ~50 years. This is hardly the tremendous breakthrough that is claimed.

What kind of comparison is that?

The technology behind the Blackbird topped out at about the speed you mention. The technology that has made this scramjet possible is just getting started at mach 5.1.

If that doesn't convince you, bear in mind that at this level even the difference between mach 5.0 and 5.1 is rather considerable, much like the difference in required engine power between 300kph and 350kph.

Re:longest flight.... (1)

KGIII (973947) | about a year ago | (#43633767)

I wonder if you're not understanding the increased technology and materials science needed to accomplish this. I also wonder if I, too, am not understanding those same things. In other words, I don't know if you're correct in your statement and I don't know if I am but, from what I understand, this is actually quite a breakthrough that has taken quite a while due to the difficulty involved.

Even still... Could it have been done faster? Most likely, but there doesn't appear to have been a pressing need for the technology sooner than this. Why must everything be rushed?

Re:longest flight.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43634183)

That's like saying the Wright Brothers' first flight wasn't a tremendous breakthrough because it was so slow and short compared to the hot air balloons of the time! Lighter-than-air technology (balloons, airships) is so completely different from airfoil technology (everything from the Wright Flyer to the SR-71) that the comparison is simply meaningless. Similarly, a comparison like that between the SR-71's airfoil technology to scramjet technology is also meaningless.

dom

Re:longest flight.... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#43633377)

Supersonic: Above speed of sound but only up to Mach 5
Hypersonic: Above Mach 5

The fact that both the latin Super [latinwordlist.com] and the greek Hyper [answers.com] translate into the same word does not really help the distinction.

Wait. What? I fail to see why two words having the same definition in two languages (Latin/Greek), but different definitions in a third (English), is a problem or is in anyway confusing, unless your endeavor is to speak in all three languages at once.

Re:longest flight.... (1)

WoOS (28173) | about a year ago | (#43633469)

but different definitions in a third (English)

So hyper- and super- mean different things in English? Did the English loosen themselves from the fixation of the Western World of the sacrosanctity of the classical languages and recycled those prefixes into new meanings? Let's check:
super- [wiktionary.org] : 1. above, over, or upon; 2. superior in size, quality, number, degree, status, title, or position
hyper- [wiktionary.org] : 1. over, above or beyond; 2. excessive
Hmm, maybe its the ordering ......

Note that I do understand that supersonic and hypersonic mean different things. That's why I posted the definition. But they sure should have thought of a different prefix to avoid confusion.
BTW, in German it isn't much better: supersonic is "Überschall" (über=more than) and for hypersonic nobody seemingly though of anything better than "Hyperschall".

Re:longest flight.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633543)

But they sure should have thought of a different prefix to avoid confusion.

Don't forget ultrasonic [wiktionary.org] , just to confuse things further.

Re:longest flight.... (1)

xaxa (988988) | about a year ago | (#43633547)

The fact that both the latin Super [latinwordlist.com] and the greek Hyper [answers.com] translate into the same word does not really help the distinction.

Wait. What? I fail to see why two words having the same definition in two languages (Latin/Greek), but different definitions in a third (English), is a problem or is in anyway confusing, unless your endeavor is to speak in all three languages at once.

We English-speaker hide the meaning of technical words by using Latin or Greek. If you know some Latin or Greek that can often help understand the meaning of English.

What's "oxygen"? Greek for "acid maker". That corresponds to the German "Sauerstoff", "acid material". Many German technical words are made from normal German words, which helps understanding, IMO.

"Petroleum" = "rock oil", Greek and Latin. German: "Erdöl" -- earth oil, but Erd and Öl are normal, everyday words.

(I only speak a little German.)

Re:longest flight.... (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about a year ago | (#43633487)

Is Mach 5 just an arbitrary number, or does something interesting happen at that speed from an aerodynamic perspective ?

Re:longest flight.... (2)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | about a year ago | (#43633707)

The air starts to burn the nitrogen with the oxygen giving nitrates; this takes energy and tends to be rather inefficient and changes the aerodynamics.

To circle the globe (3, Informative)

DKlineburg (1074921) | about a year ago | (#43633345)

What is the circumference of the Earth? How far around is the Earth?

The average radius of the Earth is 3,959 miles (6,374 kilometers).
The equitorial diameter of the Earth (distance from one side of the Earth to the other at the equator) is about 7,926 miles.

The ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle (circumference/diameter)
is written as the symbol pi.
Pi is approximately 3.141592.
3.14159265
3.1415926535

Therefore, to determine the circumference from the diameter given above:
equitorial diameter x 3.141592 = equitorial circumference
| |
7,926 x 3.141592 = 24,900
| |
The earth has a circumference of approximately 24,900 miles.

More precisely the circumference of the earth
at the equator is 24,902 mi / 40,076 km.

Source:http://lyberty.com/encyc/articles/earth.html

5.1Mach = 1.7355km/s
Source: http://www.metric-conversions.org/speed/mach-to-kilometers-per-second.htm [metric-conversions.org]

It depends on what type of plane you are flying in and what air routes you plan to take. The typical duration is usually 2 days to 4 days.

For instance, an F-16 could theoretically circumspect the world in slightly less than 78 hours. But that's only possible if all the refuellings are conducted as in-flight refuellings, via airborne tankers. With luck and some good currents around, it might shave 2 hrs or so off the total time needed. But then again, unless you can stay awake for 3 days without sleep, its damn near impossible to do that.

For a civilian airliner like a Boeing 747 or an Airbus, it would take around the same amount of time, largely due to the need to bring it down to an airstrip for refuelling. But because of its huge internal fuel capacity, it could remain airborne far longer than an F-16.

To help you with your essay, I'm going to list the conditions required to accomplish this in a realistic manner:

1) Type of aircraft and its configuration
A civilian airliner jet (like those 2 mention earlier) typically have intercontinental ranges in excess of 3,000km. Also, they are capable of carrying huge quantities of internal fuel. Assuming you take a Boeing 747, removed all the seats in the passenger compartment and turn them, along with the cargo area into fuel storage, that range will be increased dramatically, from 3,000km to 7,000km.

Taking it further, by adding a refuelling receptor to the jet itself, similar to those used by the Air Force for its planes like the C-17 Globemaster III, the maximum range effectively becomes unlimited.

2) The human factor
Flight operations are no trivial task. While computers and automated intelligent system have made it easier for modern day pilots, the task of flying itself is still a tiring activity. Pilots need to maintain vigilance not only over the flight systems on the aircraft but also need to keep an eye out for weather conditions. Although the availability of long range radar and weather satellites have made detection of distance storms easier and earlier, its ultimately a human that takes actions to avoid it.

Maintaining wakefulness is a mentally exhausting affair, especially when is also an extremely dull affair, since an un-occupied mind is a bored mind, which translate into mental lethargy, which is also sleepiness. A human being usually loses his ability to react quickly after 12 hours of continuous flying. After 18 hours, that ability falls by 10% for every 2 hours after that.

3) Flight profile and weather conditions
The reason why airliner jets can sustain long range flights is because it cruises along at high altitudes. This is one of the aspects of aerodynamics, the higher you fly, the less fuel you burn, thus allow maximum milage per pound of fuel.

Air currents can aid and also hinders an aircraft's performance. With the proper air currents available (dependant on the time of the year and location), an aircraft's flight performance can increase by 5 - 17%.

The presence of storms obviously will either hinder the flight routes to be taken or might force the aircraft to take a less efficient and longer route to avoid the storm.
Source(s):
Ex-USAF F-16C pilot
Source: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061005101923AAlYj1Z [yahoo.com]

40076/1.7655 = 22699.51854998584 Seconds
22699.51854998584/60 = 378.3253091664307 Minutes
378.3253091664307/60 = 6.305421819440511 Hours

That seems dang fast, and you have to have the fuel, but still. Feel free to correct my math and sources. I'm sure someone will. :)

Re:To circle the globe (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | about a year ago | (#43633473)

... but how many negative Gs does that create once a constant speed is reached while just maintaining level flight (in an arc around the earth)

Part 2 ... since you are starting at roughly 1G (due to gravity, but actually slightly lower due to altitude), how fast would you have to go to get 0Gs (effective weightlessness)

at some point it would be necessary to fly inverted because the human body can handle +Gs better than -Gs ... and flight equipment is designed for +Gs (it tightens around extremities to keep blood in your brain vs filling up your legs)

Re:To circle the globe (1, Funny)

frontiersman (656479) | about a year ago | (#43633507)

at some point it would be necessary to fly inverted ...

That must explain why the Space Shuttle always flew upside down once in orbit!

Re:To circle the globe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43634189)

The space shuttles flew upside down because then the bottom heat plates would face the sun and minimize exposure to the main compartment.

Re:To circle the globe (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | about a year ago | (#43634029)

I think the orbital velocity is nearly 8km/s at the surface. So at that velocity you'd feel weightless, as long as you made an aircraft with 0 lift and exactly enough thrust to counter air resistance.

Applications? (4, Informative)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about a year ago | (#43633373)

A fascinating development, but I worry that the applications are limited to delivering bombs. Since the engine doesn't even function below hypersonic speeds, a plane and rocket are necessary to even launch them, and that naturally limits the size. As such, I don't particularly see the development as a positive thing in the near term, nor does it make me feel any better that the US military is the one doing it.

A hybrid jet/rocket engine like the SABRE [wikipedia.org] is far more attractive, as it can deliver Skylon [wikipedia.org] from runway to space, and is efficient throughout. The remarkable enabling technology is a precooler which cools incoming air from 1000C to -150C in milliseconds, and has already been successfully demonstrated.

Furthermore, there is a also a variant optimized for atmospheric flight called Scimitar [wikipedia.org] , which uses the precooler with a high-bypass turbofan engine, giving it good efficiency and subsonic exhaust velocities at low speeds. This flexibility and broad efficiency allow the A2 [wikipedia.org] to operate over land as well, overcoming the limitations of the Concorde. It has the potential to make commercial hypersonic flight ubiquitous.

Theoretical (4, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#43633465)

The whole Sabre engine is still conceptual and not one working engine has flown anywhere. Also, the SABRE relies totally on liquid helium to cool air and can't use any other gas. Since Helium supplies are very limited and the price is kept artificially low, no large commercial flight will ever be possible with this technology.

Re:Theoretical (sound concept) (3, Insightful)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about a year ago | (#43633661)

SABRE is a sound concept which combines proven technologies in a new way, enabled by the novel heat exchanger. Not only has the heat exchanger has been demonstrated, the ESA has thoroughly examined the concept and finds no fault with the engine. The helium (which is not liquid by the way) is not consumed, nor are prohibitively large quantities required.

By your reasoning, there would never be any innovation at all, and we would live in a technologically static world. I do not understand the compulsion of people to endlessly and vehemently complain about the impossibility of perfectly sound concepts. Progress still happens, though probably at a considerably reduced rate thanks to this prevailing mindset.

Seriously, what is with the total lack of vision these days? Why is it that everything that can't already be purchased, is considered to be impossible? If not a sound concept with demonstrated components, what, if anything, will convince people to support innovation? I'm genuinely curious, as this seems to be holding up other critically important innovations such as molten salt reactors.

Re:Theoretical (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | about a year ago | (#43633713)

They've tested it at the test rig and it works fine.

The engine has a far easier time than scramjet engines, they should be able to keep the running for hours; good luck with getting a scramjet engine to do that!

SABRE idea has also got a huge advantage that the cycle works with excellent thrust and efficiency from zero speed all the way up to Mach 5.5. Scramjets ONLY work above Mach 4 or so.

Re:Theoretical (2)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#43633825)

The Intercooler operates on a Helium loop, but the loop is closed: it is the Hydrogen fuel that provides the cooling, and no Helium is lost in operation. Additionally, the Intercooler, the hardest part of the engine, has been tested successfully. The rest is running turbines and a rocket on H2, which has been done numerous times in the past.

The big barrier is that it doesn't scale down well at all: you can't built a small vehicle that you can actually use for launching anything, you have to stump up the cash to build the full thing if you want any sort of return on investment.

Plenty of applications? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43633731)

I'm pretty sure Ray Stalker saw it as a second stage to orbit when he came up with the idea. Having to carry less fuel is a very major consideration in such a situation.
I would like to point out however that you are writing about those theoretical designs as if a test model exists but it is not the case, while scramjet models have been performing in tests since the 1980s. It's a bit misleading to write as if the engine exists when only the precooler has been tested. They may be the way of the future but if they progress at the same speed as the scramjet they are thirty years behind - let's hope they get more attention and develop faster if they do show promise.

Political shoot-in-foot (1)

spectrokid (660550) | about a year ago | (#43633991)

Funny thing is this technology is never going to deliver anything (not even bombs) that a 20 year old ICBM wouldn't do faster, cheaper and easier. The only reason the USAF wants it is because firing ICBMs tends to get the Russians (and Chinese) a little jumpy. What everybody very hard does his best to ignore, is that the scramjet obviously also could deliver nuclear warheads, which means the foreign siblings of NORAD should be hard at work learning to detect these things. By the time this technology is operational, firing up a scramjet is going to make everybody else just as jumpy as firing an ICBM.

Re:Applications? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year ago | (#43634153)

Sure, SABRE sounds great, in the exact same sense that fusion sounds better than fission-based nuclear power.

Of course, like that comparison, scramjets are a relatively simpler technology that's already been conceptually proven, while the hybrid engine you're talking about is - despite the proof of concept for the cooling function - largely vapour.

And, by the way, the hybrid engine programme WAS originally a military concept development, but was set aside for other more promising developments. To fear that "it's just going to be used to deliver bombs" is pretty short sighted; like just about every other aerospace tech, it's likely that the bulk of investment, research, and deployment in the early, inefficient stages will indeed be by governments, but once the tech proves itself to be safe and as stable as it *appears* to potentially be, it's certain that the commercial markets will follow.

America fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633407)

Ah good old America, spend hundreds of millions, develop scram prototype, attach it to expensive plane on custom mount to get it up to speed, finally succeed.

Australia on the other hand, spend hundreds of thousands, develop scram prototype, attach it to cheap rocket and let gravity get it up to speed, succeed way earlier than America.

A milestone! A breakthrough! (2, Informative)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | about a year ago | (#43633523)

Ease off the hyperbole.

1991: The first recorded successful scramjet test, when a modified Russian SAM was used as a booster for an engine which achieved supersonic combustion for 5 seconds.

1992: Another similar test, with French funding, pushed that out to 15 seconds.

2002: HySHot demonstrated the first controlled flight with supersonic combustion ...

2013: A milestone! A breakthrough!

Re:A milestone! A breakthrough! (4, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | about a year ago | (#43633833)

Running on something other than H2 outside the lab is a breakthrough You can't rely on your cryogenic fuel to cool your engine, you need to build a chamber that will handle massive shockwaves at hilarious temperatures.

Re:A milestone! A breakthrough! (1)

Moofie (22272) | about a year ago | (#43634487)

I think this latest X-51 flight may have been longer than the sum of hypersonic burns on all tests thus far, but I may have overlooked some of the more recent ones.

Suffice it to say, a several-minute burn, with acceleration, is not a trivial accomplishment.

So what's your beef?

:mod up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633623)

Software lawyers Jesus Up The are 7ooking very are about 7700/5 never heeded

What about the skin temp ? (1)

Mike Sheen (1155353) | about a year ago | (#43633627)

I'm no aerospace engineer, but I imagine the temperature of the aircraft skin would get hot pretty quick at such speeds. What materials is this craft made of, and how do they combat the problems of heat caused by air rushing so quickly over the aircraft ? Making an engine work in short bursts is one thing, making an aircraft capable if withstanding that velocity through atmosphere is another.

Re:What about the skin temp ? (3, Interesting)

dbIII (701233) | about a year ago | (#43633777)

It's not quite space shuttle speeds. It's also worth mentioning that the engine block in your car has a melting point far below that of the combustion temperature of the fuel, but the heat is conducted away. Similarly a metal skin will allow conduction away from the surface for the heat to be dealt with elsewhere, and presumably a combination of low air pressure at high altitude (and thus lower frictional heating than at sea level) and relatively short fight times would mean the entire aircraft wouldn't have time to overheat before it gets to the destination.
It does mean however that carbon fibre reinforced plastic is probably a very bad idea for the skin while aluminium or titanium are going to conduct surface heat away at a rapid rate. There's going to be a lot of volume compared with the surface area of the leading edges so there's a lot of places for the heat to go.

Re:What about the skin temp ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633785)

That is an open problem in materials engineering in Aerospace. (Translation: We're fucked.)

W

Crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43633779)

I hope it crashes. The US can keep their warfare inside their own country.

Oh good! (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about a year ago | (#43633903)

Now we have another, faster way to deliver death to people we don't like.

Re:Oh good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43634367)

Now we have another, faster way to deliver death to people we don't like.

Let's hope the people who built it fire it straight upwards, and stand still and wait.

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