The US has teamed up with Australia to develop air-breathing hypersonic technologies as part of a bilateral effort between the two allies.

The ‘Southern Cross Integrated Flight Research Experiment (SCIFiRE)’ Allied Prototyping Initiative (API) was announced by the defence departments of both the countries.

API was launched by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering last year.

Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Michael Kratsios said: “SCIFiRE is a true testament to the enduring friendship and strong partnership between the US and Australia.

“This initiative will be essential to the future of hypersonic research and development, ensuring the US and our allies lead the world in the advancement of this transformational warfighting capability.”

The programme will be executed by the department of the airforce, under direction from the Weapons Program Executive Officer.

The effort aims to build the air-breathing hypersonic technologies into complete and affordable prototypes and offer a ‘flexible, long-range capability’, which will result in flight demonstrations.

Additionally, it will work at exploring potential opportunities for co-production between the two countries and will use their collaborative hypersonic activities, which is the Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) programme.

This is the second effort under API. The first effort, ‘Tactical High-speed Offensive Ramjet for Extended Range (THOR-ER)’, is between the US and Norway to advance solid fuel ramjet technologies.

Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld AO said: “The SCIFiRE initiative is another opportunity to advance the capabilities in our Air Combat Capability Program to support joint force effects to advance Australia’s security and prosperity.

“Working with our Defence scientists here in Australia and our partners in the US Air Force and across the US Department of Defense on leading-edge capabilities brings out the best in our airforce team.”