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Talon-A hypersonic testbed to achieve IOC by 2022

Seattle-based Stratolaunch is expected to achieve an initial operational capability with its developmental Talon-A hypersonic testbed platform by 2022.

A privately-funded development, Talon-A is an air-launched, unmanned, reusable air vehicle. With a launch weight of about 2,772 kg, the platform is 8.5 m in length, has a wingspan of 3.4 m, and according, to Stratolaunch, will be capable of conducting long duration flights at hypersonic speeds in excess of Mach 6.

Art Pettigrue, Director, Communications & Marketing at Stratolaunch, told Jane`s that the Talon-A testbed is currently in the development stage, with a prototype being built to undergo configuration and computational testing.

Talon-A features a single engine flat bottom design, with highly swept delta wings and a conventional vertical tail. The vertical tail is used for providing stability and control especially during the air launch rocket boost phase and during the hypersonic cruise phase.

A schematic on the Stratolaunch website indicates that Talon-A is powered by a liquid-fuelled rocket engine.

Pettigrue declined to disclose detail on propulsion specifics, noting that it will be utilising liquid oxygen as an oxidizer and kerosene (Jet A) as fuel and that Stratolaunch is currently working with engine providers to source an appropriate system. All the other platform systems will be designed and developed in-house, he added.

Computer-generated rendition of the Talon-A hypersonic testbed. (Stratolaunch)

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