The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) have conducted a successful hypersonic flight test.
Conducted at Woomera Test Range in South Australia, the flight forms a part of a joint research programme conducted by DST and AFRL.
Woomera was selected as the test site because of its location, vast area and ability to support continuous telemetry collection during the flight, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) stated.
The flight test is expected to help the DoD and its partners to understand controlled flight at hypersonic speed.
Australia Defence Minister Marise Payne said: “Hypersonic flight is more than five times the speed of sound and has the potential to revolutionise air travel, making it faster and cheaper to travel around the world and into space.
“There are key military applications of this technology and, by understanding hypersonic flight, the Australian Defence Force will be in a better position to respond to future threats.”
The experimental hypersonic flight was conducted in collaboration with Boeing, BAE Systems, and the University of Queensland.
The hypersonic international flight research experimentation (HIFiRE) team has completed design, assembly and pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles and design of complex avionics and flight systems.
Payne added: “While this is the last in the HIFiRE series, Australia remains at the leading edge of hypersonic research, test and evaluation thanks to the work of this dedicated team of Defence scientists and their industry and academic partners.”
Australia and the US are currently exploring plans for the next phase of flight experiments.