The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA), in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), successfully demonstrated boost phase performance of a hypersonic strike demonstrator vehicle called HyFly on Aug. 26.
A Boeing F-15E launched the HyFly vehicle during the test over the U.S. Navy's sea range at the Naval Air Weapons Center - Weapons Division at Pt. Mugu, Calif. The solid rocket booster successfully ignited and accelerated the HyFly to a speed of greater than Mach 3 -- three times the speed of sound.
This test was the second of five HyFly flight tests that are scheduled from 2005 to 2007. In the first flight test, conducted on Jan. 26, 2005, an un-powered HyFly vehicle demonstrated safe separation from an F-15E as well as vehicle guidance and control functions. During the next three test flights, the HyFly vehicles will be powered by a booster and a dual combustion ramjet, or DCR, engine at speeds up to Mach 6 --six times the speed of sound.
A Boeing Phantom Works team in St. Louis is under contract to design, develop and flight-test the HyFly demonstrator powered by the DCR engine. The ONR is co-funding the program with DARPA.
The principal subcontractor to Boeing is Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif., which supplies the DCR engine. The HyFly program team also includes the Boeing F-15E1 Team, the Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division at China Lake, Calif., which provides the solid rocket booster, and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which provides technical support and testing.
The objective of the HyFly program is to mature the DCR hypersonic missile concept. Flight tests feature a missile configuration that is compatible with launch from surface ships and submarines as well as U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force aircraft.
Further development of HyFly to operational status will result in a weapon that "could revolutionize our ability to rapidly respond to identified threats hundreds of miles away," said John Fox, Boeing Phantom Works program manager for HyFly.
Phantom Works is the advanced research and development unit and catalyst of innovation for Boeing. It provides advanced system solutions and innovative breakthrough technologies that reduce cycle time and cost while improving the quality and performance of aerospace products and services. Through its Integrated Defense Advanced Systems group, Phantom Works provides system and technology solutions to Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, one of the world's largest space and defense businesses.