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Thread: SR-72 + hypersonics information dump

  1. #1
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    SR-72 + hypersonics information dump

    Staying away from the recent speculation about the SR-72 (but will briefly quote the part that has cause all the buzz):
    Ja
    ck O'Bannion, VP of Strategy at Skunk Works, is speaking today at SciTech conference. He showed a slide of the SR-72 and said: "Without digital transformation that aircraft you see there could not have been made." "Now we can digitally print that engine with an incredibly sophisticated cooling system integral into the material of the engine itself and have that engine survive for multiple firings for routine operation," “We couldn’t have made the engine itself—it would have melted down into slag if we had tried to produce it five years ago,”
    At the very least, it would suggest that a prototype engine has been produced which lends credence to rumors the alleged ground testing for the combined cycle engine happened.
    Here is a very brief look at some of the articles and patents associated with the combined cycle hypersonic propulsion from Aerojet Rocketdyne (and previous hypersonic testing) and Aerodyne’s research into the engine. It would appear to be a Pratt-Aerodyne partnership on propulsion with L-M designed common inlet and nozzle, Rolls-Royce & GE haven’t been mentioned since previous FALCON project.

    First off: Airforce research lab presentation (lots of interesting nuggets about propulsion, materials, thermal management)- probably posted by B-I-O at some point but worth another look:
    http://www.defenseinnovationmarketpl...aceSystems.pdf

    L-M SR-72 and previous Blackswift
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...eather-423198/
    https://futurism.com/lockheed-confir...-will-be-made/

    Aerojet rocketdyne patents:
    https://www.google.com/patents/US8701379
    https://www.google.com/patents/US7216474
    https://www.google.com/patents/US7762077

    L-M, Aerodyne team & Pratt :
    http://aviationweek.com/defense/aero...ersonic-engine
    http://www.rocket.com/article/darpa-...l-range-engine
    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/1...ge-engine.html
    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2011/0...-reusable.html

    Propulsion part of Blackswift program:
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...jet-fo-216870/

    I will add to this as I find more, obviously there are going to be highly speculative aspects as: There have been multiple projects over the last 15 years and not all feed directly into the SR-72, it is a black project so even contractors are going to be hard to identify.
    Last edited by FBW; 18th January 2018 at 17:32.

  2. #2
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    I absolutely don't want to take away from your efforts here, but so much of what is possible is going to be the subject of distortion, obfuscation and redaction that I think we are all guessing.

    I am genuinely sceptical that this is the first aircraft with this capability that the US has produced. But I know we must deal in facts (or at least the "facts" we are given).....

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    Understand completely, not suggesting the aircraft is ready. What I am seeing is that Aerojet Rocketdyne has developed that breakthrough in propulsion technology that has eluded hypersonic flight: a reusable propulsion system that works from 0-mach 6+, and is at a technology readiness level that makes L-M feel confident in talking about the SR-72.

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    ...that doesn't require exotic fuels.

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    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    With regards to what may come out of this; we have Lockheed/Aerojet Rocketdyne that has released a (relatively) large amount of information, and Boeing/Orbital ATK with very little except the DARPA contract award to Orbital for a TBCC demonstrator propulsion system and the sketches from Boeing for their hypersonic vehicle.

    The question is why? Lockheed pushing for visibility to appear like the presumptive winners for any future hypersonic ISR platform.

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    I see this as a contracted propulsion award (DARPA- AFRE to both Aerojet and OATK) and the vehicle and integrator prime's spending IR&D and pushing into "demonstrator" territory in an effort to prepare themselves for a defined Air Force need.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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    Quote Originally Posted by bring_it_on View Post
    I see this as a contracted propulsion award (DARPA- AFRE to both Aerojet and OATK) and the vehicle and integrator prime's spending IR&D and pushing into "demonstrator" territory in an effort to prepare themselves for a defined Air Force need.
    Yes, what is interesting (to me) is that Aerojet (formerly Pratt Rocketdyne) has been developing this TBCC since 2008 in NASA’s wind tunnel, and was previously part of the cancelled blackswift project. They (seem) to have success testing the transition to ramjet at Mach 2.5 which is key to the whole concept. They were, according to press releases, planning ground tests last year.

    That coupled with the Lockheed announcement last year green lighting a hypersonic FTV, and recent comments are intriguing. Granted, this is a long way from the USAF actually issuing an RFP for an operational hypersonic ISR platform. I would think that a usable strike weapon will come out of HAWC first according to the hypersonic roadmap.
    Last edited by FBW; 18th January 2018 at 22:42.

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    DARPA Selects Orbital ATK for Hypersonic Engine Research Project



    January 23, 2018 08:30 AM Eastern Standard Time

    DULLES, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, has entered into a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to study potential integration of turbine and hypersonic engine technologies into a new aircraft propulsion system under DARPA’s Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program.

    The AFRE program seeks to develop a new aircraft propulsion system that could operate over the full range of speeds from conventional runway low-speed takeoff through hypersonic flight and then back to a conventional landing. Systems that operate at hypersonic speeds potentially extend range and shorten response times, offering enhanced effectiveness compared to current military systems. The program will explore the concept of a combined cycle engine technology whereby during the flight, a turbine engine would operate up to supersonic speeds and a dual-mode ramjet would transition to hypersonic speed.

    Aside from the AFRE program, Orbital ATK is developing rocket pulse motors to operate at extremely cold temperatures that provide increased range and flexibility for both tactical and defense applications. The company also maintains a number of state-of-the-art hypersonic test facilities along the East Coast, as well as offers custom test products to organizations to advance these groundbreaking capabilities and meet the needs of tomorrow’s warfighter.

    Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group is an industry leader in providing innovative and affordable precision and strike weapons, advanced propulsion and hypersonics, missile components across air-, sea- and land-based systems, ammunition and related energetic products.
    Old radar types never die; they just phased array

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