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Australian firm selected for US hypersonic test vehicle requirement

23rd March 2023 - 13:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London


The Dart AE selected for the DIU's HyCAT programme is due to fly in early 2024. (Image: Hypersonix Launch Systems)

Hypersonix Launch Systems will provide flight vehicles for testing under a US Defense Innovation Unit hypersonic programme.

Australia's Hypersonix Launch Systems has been selected to provide hypersonic vehicles to the US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) for testing.

The DIU issued a competitive solicitation as part of its Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities (HyCAT1) programme. There were 63 respondents.

According to the company, its selection demonstrates an increased US DoD willingness to source commercial technologies from allied countries.

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The September 2022 DIU HyCAT solicitation sought vehicles for testing hypersonic platforms and components; sensors for detecting and tracking; and systems for communications, navigation, guidance and control. 

Such vehicles should be capable of operating in a 'representative environment' and maintain speeds above Mach 5 in a manoeuvrable/non-ballistic flight profile for least a three-minute duration.

Hypersonix submitted its Dart AE (Additive Engineering) design, which makes use of 3D printing and is powered by a hydrogen-fuelled scramjet, It can fly non-ballistic flight patterns at speeds of Mach 5-7 and over 1,000km (400s flight time). 

Dart AE has a payload bay holding up to 9kg and first flight is scheduled for early 2024.

'Our vehicles are capable of non-ballistic flight patterns to at least Mach 7, which exceeds the HyCAT1 specification,' David Waterhouse, MD of Hypersonix Launch Systems, said.

'Our longer-term focus is to capture a slice of the emerging multi-billion-dollar commercial market for deployment of small satellites, but clearly Australia’s strategic defence allies see immediate potential in our technology.'

Hypersonix and Kratos signed an agreement in January 2022 to develop and launch DART AE. The University of Southern Queensland, LSM Advanced Composites and Roman Engineering are also involved in the project.

On 29 March 2022, the Australian government awarded an A$2.95 million ($2.21 million) Cooperative Research Centers Project ) grant to continue DART AE's development.

The Shephard News Team


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