- CNTV English - CCTV News

Unmanned U.S. military hypersonic test flight fails

08-16-2012 06:11 BJT

WASHINGTON, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- An experimental unmanned aircraft failed in a hypersonic test flight, and dropped into the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Air Force said in a statement on Wednesday.

The aircraft, named X-51A Waverider, failed in its bid to reach a speed of Mach 6, or over 4,567 miles (about 7,350 kilometers) per hour, on Tuesday. The Air Force said Wednesday it successfully separated in midair from a B-52 bomber served as mother ship, and the rocket booster fired as planned.

About 16 seconds into the test flight, a fault was identified with one of the cruiser control fins. Once the X-51A was separated from the rocket booster, it was lost as the cruiser was not able to maintain control due to the faulty control fin.

"It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the scramjet engine," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for Air Force Research Laboratory. The X-51A Waverider is also called a scramjet, short for supersonic combustion ramjet.

The X-51A was designed to fly for 300 seconds, and it was the third attempt by the Air Force at getting an X-51A airframe to go hypersonic. With the experiments, scientists achieved only limited success.

The X-51A gets its Waverider name from an aspect of the aircraft's expected performance in flight -- once it's moving fast enough, it surfs its own shockwave.

The U.S. Air Force said the X-51A is a technology demonstrator and not a prototype for any particular weapon system. What it's intended to demonstrate is the feasibility of futuristic scramjet technology, which could someday lead to hypersonic weapons or reconnaissance vehicles.

The U.S. military has been testing other hypersonic vehicles, one is known as the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW) concept vehicle, but it is used to develop technology for Conventional Prompt Global Strike, a capability that would allow the U.S. side to strike anywhere in the world within an hour using conventional warheads.



Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program