Aerospace and defence company Aerojet Rocketdyne has successfully tested a dual-mode ramjet / scramjet (DMRJ) engine that would support the development of new hypersonic aircraft.

The series of tests were carried out as part of an on-going partnership of the company with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Nasa, and the US Air Force (USAF) to develop hypersonic propulsion technologies.

The propulsion technologies will help develop the advanced hypersonic aircraft, which would be capable of performing conventional take-off and landing.

Aerojet Rocketdyne chief executive officer and president Eileen Drake said: “Developing hypersonic capabilities has recently been cited by the Department of Defense officials as the ‘highest technical priority’ for our nation.

“Aerojet Rocketdyne is well-positioned to support this call to action, as we have been developing hypersonic propulsion technologies for more than 30 years.

“Our scramjet engine powered the record-setting test flights of the X-51A WaveRider, and we have accelerated our development efforts since then.”

“Our scramjet engine powered the record-setting test flights of the X-51A WaveRider, and we have accelerated our development efforts since then.

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“That progress, when combined with the advances we’ve made in additive manufacturing, has enabled this next generation of hypersonic propulsion systems.”

The DMRJ engine, when combined with a gas turbine engine as part of a turbine-based combined cycle propulsion (TBCC) system, would have the capability to propel an aircraft from a halted position into the hypersonic flight regime of 5mach or higher and back again.

Conducted over a wider operating range than previously demonstrated, the tests also helped validate an advanced analytical tool set developed by the company that facilitates precise simulation of complex DMRJ flow fields across a broad variety of applications.