'Hypersonic' aircraft put to the test | News | Al Jazeera

'Hypersonic' aircraft put to the test

Unmanned WaveRider is to undergo another test flight above Pacific Ocean aiming to reach speeds of up to Mach 6.

    The US Air Force planned a key test of an experimental aircraft designed to fly at six times the speed of sound, or about 6,500kph.

    The unmanned X-51A WaveRider, the military’s latest attempt at hypersonic flight, was expected to reach Mach 6 after it is dropped by a B-52 bomber and takes flight off the Southern California coast.

    Engineers hoped the X-51A would sustain its top speed for five minutes, twice as long as it has gone before.

    The X-51A WaveRider could become the basis for much faster commercial flights and a new tool for military use.

    Al Jazeera's Mark Orchard reports.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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