After approximately 15 seconds of flight, the experimental aircraft designed to fly at six times the speed of sound was unable to maintain control during a test run Tuesday and was lost, the Air Force said in a statement.
The unmanned X-51A WaveRider was expected to reach Mach 6 after it was dropped by a B-52 bomber off the Southern California coast near Point Mugu, but a faulty control fin compromised the flight.
“It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the Scramjet engine,” Charlie Brink, the X-51A program manager, said in a statement. “All our data showed we had created the right conditions for engine ignition and we were very hopeful to meet our test objectives.”
featured image: The X-51 WaveRider will be a free-flying vehicle that will fly further at hyperspeeds than all of it’s predecessors combined, claims Boeing Corp. Hypersonic speeds are those in excess of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. Source: Boeing