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X-51A Hypersonic Missile –The Future of Air-to-Ground Munitions

Written by on Monday, July 8th, 2013

Okay, here’s your quiz for the day: What weapon in the U.S. inventory, carried by bombers or fighters, travels at over five times the speed of sound and is able to deliver high explosive material against enemy targets? If you guessed none, you would be correct. Today, the U.S. has no weapon in its inventory that is employed by aircraft that can reach the mach five threshold but the X-51A hypersonic missile just recently completed test trials and was able to reach a speed of mach 5.1 in controlled flight using scramjet power.

The X-51A hypersonic missile was designed to use air mixed with hydrocarbon fuels to power itself to high velocity which gives it a significant advantage over typical rocket propelled missiles that must carry their own source of oxygen which limits payload options and is less efficient than relying upon ambient sources of air. The X-51A hypersonic missile cheap cialis 20 mg uses a JP-7 special jet fuel that is used only by the SR-71 Blackbird and uses ethylene fuel as a source to start the engine but relies upon scramjet air inlets to mix with the fuel to create the combustion. The historic flight took place over restricted airspace near San Nicolas Island off the coast of California and demonstrated an air-breathing capability with hydrocarbon fuels with a sustained combustion of 210 seconds before the X-51A ran out of fuel and glided to its watery grave in the Pacific Ocean.

The test, although successful, was the result of many years of development and many previously failed attempts. The significance of the X-51A hypersonic missile demonstrates the technical challenges of hypersonic flight can be overcome and combined with a robust sensor/guidance package and a warhead, the future of armed conflict and potentially the balance of conventional warfare has been tilted.

If you want advice about the world of military aviation, there’s no better people to turn to than men and women who have sat in the cockpit and flown some of the world’s most advanced aircraft. With over 50 current and ex-warfighters on call, Strike Fighter Consulting Inc. can give you access to up-to-date, first-hand technical and tactical expertise.

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