Hypersonics

Engineering hypersonic engines that function at both low and high supersonic speeds.

Hypersonic engineering is an evolving field, centered on the development of air-breathing engines that can travel at supersonic and hypersonic speeds in excess of Mach 6. Hypersonic engines do not require their own oxygen supply and instead burn hydrogen or hydrocarbon fuel with air from the atmosphere, allowing for much larger payloads.

Utilizing our deep understanding of fluid dynamics to manage extreme changes throughout the engine’s flight, and our thermal-management expertise to control and repurpose frictional heat, Aerojet Rocketdyne engineers hypersonic engines that function at both low and high supersonic speeds. Our technology optimizes air intake, reduces the amount of oxygen required, and ultimately delivers high-velocity airflow at significantly higher performance levels.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is uniquely situated to offer a variety of liquid-fueled propulsion system concepts for hypersonic flight. At the heart of these systems is a dual-mode scramjet, allowing the engine to function as a subsonic-combustion ramjet at low supersonic speeds (Mach 3-5) and as a supersonic combustion ramjet (scramjet) at high supersonic speeds (greater than Mach 5).

Aerojet Rocketdyne is also the leader in fuel-cooled, hydrocarbon technology. We are developing a wide range of hypersonic-propulsion system technologies applicable to aircraft and missiles including high speed weapons; hypersonic-cruise vehicles that will provide rapid global reach for reconnaissance and strike missions; and concepts that will provide enhanced access to space.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is teamed with U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Boeing on the X-51A program with the goal of demonstrating the practicality of hypersonic flight.