Researchers in the USA have successfully tested a new dual-mode ramjet/scramjet (DMRJ) engine at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia.
The DMRJ engine being developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne opens up the possibility of developing a hypersonic aircraft capable of conventional take-off and landing. When combined with a gas turbine engine as part of a combined cycle propulsion (TBCC) system, it could be used to propel an air vehicle from a standstill into the hypersonic flight regime of Mach 5 or higher and back again.
Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president Eileen Drake said, “We have been developing hypersonic propulsion technologies for more than 30 years. Our scramjet engine powered the record-setting test flights of the X-51A WaveRider, and we have accelerated our development efforts since then. That progress, when combined with the advances we’ve made in additive manufacturing, has enabled this next generation of hypersonic propulsion systems.”
The tests were conducted as part of an ongoing partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA and the US Air Force (USAF) to develop hypersonic propulsion technologies. The tests also helped validate an advanced analytical tool set developed by Aerojet Rocketdyne that enables the precise simulation of complex DMRJ flow fields across a broad scale of applications.