USN takes a new look at hypersonic technologies
By Richard Scott
In a move that signals continued US Navy (USN) interest in high-speed strike weapons, the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) at China Lake, California, has called on national industry and academia to provide information on conceptual and developmental hypersonic flight vehicle technologies.
Releasing a Hypersonic Weapons Technologies Request for Information (RfI) on 2 November, NAWCWD said it was interested in reviewing technologies, "which will enable/enhance the operation and survival of two classes of hypersonic vehicles. The first concept is a rocket-boosted hypersonic glider (Mach 8-10) and the second concept is an air-breathing cruise vehicle (Mach 5-6)".
Submissions are due by 2 January 2013.
According to NAWCWD, earlier studies have indicated that a long-range rapid strike capability is operationally desirable with both hypersonic boost-glide and air-breathing vehicles offering possible solutions. However, affordability is seen as a major concern: the boost-glide concept requires high temperature materials and aerodynamic shapes that can achieve improved lift-to-drag ratios, while air-breathing concepts lose volume to internal propulsion flowpath and fuel-delivery systems. Both concepts would also have to be implemented within volume constraints of the shipborne Mk 41 vertical launcher and submarine launcher systems used by the USN.193 of 505 words
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