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Rolls-Royce to bolster UK defence with latest ‘cutting-edge’ hypersonic project | Science | News

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Latest hypersonic technologies to develop UK defence systems

Coming days after Joe Biden’s USA successfully tested a hypersonic missile able to travelling five times the speed of sound for the primary time, the launch of the brand new initiative highlights the priorities of the UK Government, especially given the huge resources which each China and Russia are pouring in. In a press release issued on the primary day of the Farnborough Air Show, Response Engines, Rolls-Royce, the Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), the UK Government’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and the UK’s National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) announced latest details of their Hypersonic Air Vehicle Experimental (HVX) Programme.

Air Vice-Marshal Linc Taylor, Chief of Staff Air Capability, Royal Air Force, said: “This activity presents a novel opportunity to experiment with pioneering UK technology to tell the art of the possible and challenge traditional views on the price and time related to development and fielding of high-Mach platforms.

“This partnership advantages from a series of aligned initiatives, integrating world class skills and technologies on a series of near-term experimentations to tell our future capability planning.”

Constructing on the pioneering high-speed propulsion technologies and extensive research and development capabilities of the partners, the HVX will set out to determine the UK as a pacesetter in reusable hypersonic air systems.

Hypersonic technology can be help counter the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia (Image: GETTY)

Hypersonic

Britain is attempting to develop its own hypersonic capability (Image: Response Engines)

Air Vice-Marshal Linc Taylor, Chief of Staff Air Capability, Royal Air Force, said: “This activity presents a novel opportunity to experiment with pioneering UK technology to tell the art of the possible and challenge traditional views on the price and time related to development and fielding of high-Mach platforms.

“This partnership advantages from a series of aligned initiatives, integrating world class skills and technologies on a series of near-term experimentations to tell our future capability planning.”

Constructing on the pioneering high-speed propulsion technologies and extensive research and development capabilities of the partners, the HVX will set out to determine the UK as a pacesetter in reusable hypersonic air systems.

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Hypersonic

Hypersonic ambitions can be unveiled on the Farnborough Airshow (Image: Response Engine)

The HVX Programme can even undertake design work on experimental hypersonic vehicle concepts. A single engine hypersonic concept vehicle – Concept V – is being unveiled at Farnborough, considered one of quite a lot of concept designs in lively development.

The intent is to expand HVX to incorporate other leading aerospace corporations to be able to ensure additional expertise is deployed to support the delivery of such breakthrough technology.

HVX can even aim to make sure the technologies developed will be put to make use of in other high Mach/hypersonic applications, although there was no specific mention of missile development.

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Hypersonic planes

Hypersonic planes and other technology travel again and again the speed of sound (Image: Response Engines)

US President Joe Biden

US President Joe Biden (Image: GETTY)

Mark Thomas, Chief Executive of Response Engines, said: “Response Engines is worked up to be leading this ambitious, future-focused, programme with the Rapid Capabilities Office and Strategic Partners, bringing together the perfect of the perfect in technology, talent and innovation, to offer the UK with a novel capability in reusable hypersonic systems”

John Wardell, Director Future Programmes, of Rolls-Royce, added: “This collaboration will enable Rolls-Royce to work effectively alongside Response Engines and our strategic partners to develop progressive and cutting-edge technologies that may provide our customers with the equipment needed to satisfy their military requirements.

“The HVX Programme will bring together a novel opportunity to boost the UK’s profile in our ability to develop each the abilities and technology within the fast evolving area.”

Hypersonic factfile

Hypersonic factfile (Image: Response Engines)

Steve Simm, Air Systems Programme Manager of Dstl, explained: “Dstl is pleased to be involved on this exciting project, through three most important features: use of MOD research funding to know potential air system concepts and their feasibility; exploring potential operational utility of those concepts; maximising exploitation of the broader S&T Portfolio, reminiscent of the Hypersonics Weapons Research Programme.”

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Pentagon announced the US had recently successfully tested two Lockheed Martin Corp hypersonic missiles, amid growing concerns Russia and China have had more success developing their very own hypersonic weapons.

The US Air Force confirmed it successfully tested its Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) booster on Tuesday off the California coast. Reuters reported the ARRW test earlier on Wednesday through which the booster was carried aloft under the wing of a B-52H before it was launched. In previous tests, the weapon didn’t detach from the plane.

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping’s China can also be forging ahead with hypersonic technology (Image: GETTY)

A Lockheed spokesman said: “This second successful test demonstrates ARRW’s ability to succeed in and withstand operational hypersonic speeds, collect crucial data to be used in further flight tests, and validate protected separation from the aircraft.”

Air Force Brigadier General Heath Collins, program executive officer, Armament Directorate, said, “We’ve now accomplished our booster test series and are able to move forward to all-up-round testing later this 12 months.”

In a separate hypersonic weapon test, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) confirmed it successfully performed the primary test of its Operational Fires hypersonic weapon.

Hypersonic weapons travel within the upper atmosphere at greater than five times the speed of sound, or about 6,200 km (3,853 miles) per hour.

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