U.S. Air Force Partners Hermeus to Develop Hypersonic Military Aircraft

 In Defense, USA, Air, Forces & Capabilities

On Thursday, aero­space com­pa­ny Hermeus has announced that it part­nered with the U.S. Air Force and the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate to work toward hyper­son­ic travel for the Department of Defense.

Hermeus has award­ed an $1.5 mil­lion con­tract to eval­u­ate poten­tial hyper­son­ic mil­i­tary trans­ports for a 9 – 19-seat air­craft, includ­ing for the exec­u­tive air­lift mis­sion.

This award comes under an Other Transaction For Prototype Agreement Direct to Phase II con­tract through AFWERX after Hermeus suc­cess­ful­ly tested a Mach 5 engine pro­to­type in February 2020.

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The effort is focused on rapid­ly assess­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tions to Hermeus Mach 5 air­craft to sup­port the Presidential and Executive Airlift fleet. Early inte­gra­tion of unique Air Force require­ments for high-speed mobil­i­ty and eval­u­a­tion of inter­faces between high-speed air­craft and exist­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions, air­port, and air traf­fic con­trol infra­struc­ture lays the ground­work for a seam­less tran­si­tion to ser­vice. Additionally, Hermeus will pre­pare test plans to reduce tech­ni­cal risk asso­ci­at­ed with these mod­i­fi­ca­tions to sup­port Air Force require­ments.

Brigadier General Ryan Britton, Program Executive Officer for Presidential and Executive Airlift com­ment­ed on the pro­gram: “Leaps in capa­bil­i­ty are vital as we work to com­pli­cate the cal­cu­lus of our adver­saries. By lever­ag­ing com­mer­cial invest­ment to drive new tech­nolo­gies into the Air Force, we are able to max­i­mize our pay­back on Department of Defense invest­ments. The Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate is proud to sup­port Hermeus in making this game-chang­ing capa­bil­i­ty a real­i­ty as we look to recap­i­tal­ize the fleet in the future.”

Preceding the award, the Hermeus team designed from scratch, built, and suc­cess­ful­ly tested a Mach 5 engine pro­to­type, in only 9 months. The test cam­paign both served as risk reduc­tion for Hermeus’ tur­bine-based com­bined cycle engine archi­tec­ture and illus­trates the team’s abil­i­ty to exe­cute with sched­ule and fund­ing effi­cien­cy. “Using our pre-cooler tech­nol­o­gy, we’ve taken an off-the-shelf gas tur­bine engine and oper­at­ed it at flight speed con­di­tions faster than the famed SR-71. In addi­tion, we’ve pushed the ramjet mode to Mach 4 – 5 con­di­tions, demon­strat­ing full-range hyper­son­ic air-breath­ing propul­sion capa­bil­i­ty,” said Glenn Case, Hermeus’ CTO.

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Executive Editor

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