The United States Air Force (USAF) declared that aircraft X-51A Waverider cramjet successfully completed the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight May 26 off the southern California Pacific coast and make new world record.
The previous record was set by NASA’s X-43 in 2004 which is an aircraft. With its high-tech propulsion system NASA’s X-43 managed to fly only 12 seconds. The X-51A Waverider Scramjet managed to sustain powered flight for more than 200 seconds, tens of times more efficient than the X-43,
Air Force officials said the X-51A Waverider scramjet propulsion record can be compared to the leap from propellers to jet engines after World War II.
“We are ecstatic to have accomplished most of our test points on the X-51A’s very first hypersonic mission. We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines,” says in the USAF statement X-51A program manager Charlie Brink.
Scramjet propulsion will eventually replace current technologies, aviation engineers says.