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DARPA’s new hypersonic plane to travel at 20 times the speed of sound

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When I first heard of new program my first thought was “Oh my God!”

Image a nuclear bomber or fighter jet that can travel at hypersonic speed that can reach its target anywhere in the world in less than one hour.

The new plane would fly at 20 times the speed of sound, or Mach 20 – roughly 13,000 mph (20,900 kph).

This is no longer science fiction, thanks to work being done by the mad scientists at DARPA – the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

DARPA, laid out its plan to develop and test-fly the hypersonic vehicle in a press release last Friday.

The program is called Integrated Hypersonics.

“IH” for short.

According to MSNBC the new Integrated Hypersonics program will focus primarily on six areas:

1) thermal protection
2) aerodynamics
3) guidance
4) navigation and control (GNC)
5) range/instrumentation
6) propulsion.

This is not without difficulties however aircraft flying through the atmosphere at Mach 20 experience extreme temperatures in excess of 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,927 degrees Celsius), DARPA officials said — hot enough to literally melt stainless steel like candle wax.

DARPA has had an active hypersonics research program in various stages of development for years now.”It’s all paying off now now”, said one DARPA scientist, who declined to be named in this report.

DARPA is also working on a new “global reach” super sonic bomber.

It promises to be the fastest, most technologically advanced nuclear bomber in the entire world (see video: DARPA Falcon hypersonic X-plane ).

When you though things could getting any scarier one DARPA official hinted at the secret development of the HTV 3X model that will be piloted remotely.

Robert Tilford