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Farnborough 2022: UK reveals ‘Concept V' hypersonic aircraft

The Concept V hypersonic aircraft was revealed at the Farnborough Airshow. (Reaction Engines)

The United Kingdom has revealed a new concept for a hypersonic military aircraft, dubbed Concept V.

Revealed at the Farnborough Airshow on 18 July, Concept V is part of the wider Hypersonic Air Vehicle Experimental (HVX) programme being run by the Royal Air Force's Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), and the UK's National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF), as well as industry partners Reaction Engines and Rolls-Royce.

“The [HVX] programme is undertaking design work on experimental hypersonic vehicle concepts. At the Farnborough International Airshow, a single-engine hypersonic concept vehicle – ‘Concept V' – has been unveiled. This example vehicle is one of a number of concept designs in active development by the programme,” Reaction Engines said.

As noted by Reaction Engines in its announcement, the HVX programme “has been established to rapidly develop critical high-Mach/hypersonic technologies, including novel airbreathing propulsion architectures, innovative thermal management systems, and advanced vehicle concepts. A full-scale experimental engine test campaign has now commenced”.

According to the company, HVX's immediate objective is to rapidly mature technologies, which can deliver a step-change reduction in the cost of developing a reusable high-Mach/hypersonic air vehicle. “Reaction Engines' novel precooler and Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) combined-cycle engine technologies are key foundations for the programme. In combination with Rolls-Royce's gas-turbine technology, this brings a formidable capability to take on the challenging problems inherent with hypersonic flight.”

It is expected that the HVX programme will be expanded to include other aerospace companies.

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