The United States military has successfully tested an air-breathing hypersonic weapon capable of speeds faster than five times the speed of sound. 

The Pentagon this week announced Raytheon Technologies has completed its second flight test for a weapon of this kind for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the US Air Force.

Air-breathing vehicles use air captured from the atmosphere to achieve sustained propulsion.

A statement from Raytheon says the second test flew at a trajectory designed to intentionally stress the weapon and explore its limits.

“The second flight test is a big step toward scramjet technology being mission ready,” said the general manager of Weapon Systems for Northrop Grumman, Dan Olson.

“Nearly twenty years of scramjet propulsion research and development have come to fruition to significantly advance our nation’s weapon capabilities.”

Raytheon Technologies and Lockheed Martin are currently competing for the ultimate contract in the development program for the hypersonic air-breathing weapon concept.

There have been four air-breathing hypersonic weapon tests since September, with Raytheon’s product performing successfully both times and Lockheed recording one failure.


Image: Getty 

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