The Australian Defence Science and Technology Group and the US Air Force Research Laboratory successfully completed an experimental hypersonic flight out of the Woomera Test Range in South Australia on May 18, 2016.
The experimental rocket reached an apogee of 278km, achieving the targeted speed of Mach 7.5.
The HIFiRE 5b flight was undertaken as part of a joint research effort called the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program (HIFiRE), which is being conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Group and the US Air Force Research Laboratory, with Boeing and the University of Queensland providing expert technical design and analysis.
Chief Defense Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky congratulated the international hypersonics team, saying the success of this test launch takes us one step closer to the realization of hypersonic flight.
“It is a game-changing technology identified in the 2016 Defence White Paper and could revolutionize global air travel, providing cost-effective access to space,” said Dr Zelinsky.
The program is aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies critical to the realization of sustained hypersonic flight.
The HIFiRE team has already achieved some significant milestones such as the design, assembly and pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles and the design of complex avionics and flight systems. More test flights are scheduled for the next two years.
May 20, 2016