The Office of Naval Research and the Defense Applied Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in October will complete static ground testing of a technology demonstrator hypersonic missile, designated HyFly. that will travel at six limes the speed of sound (Mach 6). Flight tests are set for early 2007. If successful. HyFly may provide a range of critical new propulsion technologies and heat-resistant materials for future Navy shipboard, airborne, and submarine-launched missiles.
The missile initiative-referred to as a dual-combustor ramjet-builds on an innovative hybrid ramjet/scramjet engine design developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Boeing is the program's prime contractor and Aerojet is the principal subcontractor for the engine. Navy program officials say that the unique HyFly design combines the attributes of a conventional ramjet and a pure scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet), enabling the engine to achieve extremely high speeds while requiring a smaller booster than needed for a pure scramjet.