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Two methods can be used to achieve the Vulcan hypersonic engine

DARPA held an industry day where it outlined some of its plans for hypersonic aircraft of the future. The program being shown off at the industry day was the DARPA Vulcan project. The project centers around developing an aircraft that uses a constant volume combustion (CVC) engine capable of flight at speeds from a standstill to Mach 4 and over.

Aviation Week’s Ares blog reports that the first part of the program was an introduction to the problem the program faces -- how exactly to accelerate an aircraft from a stop to speeds fast enough to activate a supersonic-combustion ramjet.

The program has some interesting slides and information (PDF) from the famed Lockheed Skunk Works HTV-3X flight demonstration vehicle that was conceived as part of the DARPA Falcon program. One of the slides gives an idea of the size of the HTV-3X vehicle by comparing it to the Have Blue aircraft that ended up being about 60% of the F-117 stealth fighter.

The Lockheed HTV-3X vehicle itself has been superseded by the DARPA Blackswift hypersonic program DailyTech has covered before. The engine that DARPA envisions for the Vulcan project is a CVC and turbojet combination.

According to Ares two methods can be used to achieve this type of engine. In one method a common air inlet would be used for both the turbojet engine that is to carry the aircraft from a stop to Mach 4 and higher speeds and the CVC that would take over at propel the aircraft to Mach 6 and over. This method is called turbine-based combined cycle.

The second method to achieve the engine needed is called an annular approach and would embed a turbojet inside a CVC ramjet engine. The big challenge here is that the turbojet would have to be cocooned when the CVC is active to protect it from the high heat produced inside the Vulcan engine over Mach 2.

Because a turbojet capable of propelling a aircraft over Mach 4 would be large and expensive to develop, DARPA instead wants to take a conventional Mach 2 turbojet and combine it with a CVC to get an engine capable of high Mach speeds, but at much cheaper development costs.



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RE: Better idea
By kattanna on 6/26/2008 1:57:41 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
We can already go fast enough on this planet


i beg to differ. When i can pop over from los angeles to say.. paris for dinner and then be back for bed, then.. we might be going fast enough on this planet.


RE: Better idea
By FITCamaro on 6/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: Better idea
By DukeN on 6/26/2008 2:17:31 PM , Rating: 5
Doesn't Paris live in LA? Shouldn't be too difficult.


RE: Better idea
By Spuke on 6/26/2008 3:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Doesn't Paris live in LA? Shouldn't be too difficult.
Oh God. Please, just stop. LOL!


RE: Better idea
By HrilL on 6/26/2008 6:22:17 PM , Rating: 1
In that case he would probably want to spend the night there ;)


RE: Better idea
By Gul Westfale on 6/26/2008 7:41:33 PM , Rating: 5
well if a pretentious airhead whose body looks like she spent time in auschwitz and who has a face like the boy from the home alone movies is his thing... but she probably has a helluva lot of STDs.


RE: Better idea
By Reclaimer77 on 6/26/2008 4:59:29 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah it was called the Concorde, and now it doesn't fly anymore.

I guess high speed travel isn't that important to us after all.


RE: Better idea
By EricMartello on 6/26/2008 5:36:51 PM , Rating: 2
The Concorde was loved by those who used it (rich people), and it was shut down primarily due to the noise levels it generated when flying at super-sonic speeds near populated areas. A sonic boom from a large object, like a passenger jet, is "OH SHIT it's the end of the world" loud, with earth-shaking vibrations and all to boot.


RE: Better idea
By FITCamaro on 6/26/2008 7:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
Funny. I slept through plenty in Florida. It might shake the walls a tiny bit, but it by no means freaks anyone out once they're used to it.


RE: Better idea
By Calin on 6/27/2008 2:50:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I guess high speed travel isn't that important to us after all.


I should rephrase that:
I guess European high speed travel isn't that important to US after all


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