Bullets generally travel at Mach 2 speed, which is twice the speed of sound. The new hypersonic jet, which is being built by the United States military, will have the capacity to soar the skies five times the speed of sound.
According to the website Military.com, the new hypersonic has been built on research from a test flight of an experimental hypersonic vehicle in 2013 named the X-51A Waverider. The hypersonic jet, which is currently being worked upon, would most probably be ready for flight by the year 2023.
The X-51A program was initiated in 2004 and costed around $300 million. The final, conclusive test of the program was carried out on May 1, 2013 when the unmanned Waverider was crashed intentionally into the Pacific Ocean, after it had flied at an impressive speed of Mach 5.1 (five times the speed of sound) in just over six minutes.
X-51 was really a proof of concept test. It showed that you could get a scram jet engine, launch it off an aircraft and it could go hypersonic,” Mica Endsley, the Air Force’s chief scientist, told Military.com. “It was able to go more than Mach 5 until it ran out of fuel. It was a very successful test of an airborne hypersonic weapons system.”
However, Endsley also stated that the military’s next-generation hypersonic jet would be even faster. Engineers in the Air Force and Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) will take into account all those materials which work well at hypersonic speeds and guidance systems advanced enough to point the vehicle in the accurate direction.
The Air Force has also stated that it is working on hypersonic weapons that can be fired upon targets whilst the hypersonic vehicle is traveling at a high speed. If the hypersonic jet is successful and does become operational by 2023, the United States military would definitely have an upper edge over other armed forces in the world.