Boeing X-51A WaveRider Breaks Record On 4th Flight
The X-51A WaveRider unmanned hypersonic aircraft flew the longest air-breathing, scramjet-powered hypersonic flight in history on 1 May 2013, according to a statement from Boeing. During a mission where the X-51A achieved flight for three and a half minutes on scramjet power at a top speed of Mach 5.1, the entire sortie lasted more than six minutes.
According to Boeing, a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress from Edwards Air Force Base released the X-51A from 50,000 feet above the Point Mugu Naval Air Warfare Center Sea Range at 10:55 a.m. Pacific time. After launch, a solid rocket booster accelerated the aircraft to approximately Mach 4.8 before the booster and a connecting stage jettisoned.
Boeing says the vehicle reached Mach 5.1 powered by its supersonic combustion scramjet engine, which burned all its JP-7 jet fuel. The X-51A made a controlled dive into the Pacific Ocean at the conclusion of its mission. The test fulfilled all mission objectives, according to Boeing. The flight was the fourth X-51A test flight completed for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. It exceeded the previous record set by the program in 2010.