Boeing and ATK have joined the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works team bidding to build the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Blackswift hypersonic technology demonstrator.
Northrop Grumman is understood not to have bid, making it likely a contract will be awarded to Lockheed by September. The unmanned, reusable turbojet/scramjet-powered Blackswift is planned to fly in 2012.
Under DARPA’s Falcon program, Lockheed has completed conceptual design of a demonstrator, the HTV-3X, that forms the basis for the Blackswift. The goal of the demonstration is to take-off conventionally, accelerate to beyond Mach 6, maneuver and return to a runway landing.
Skunk Works also is performing subscale tests of the combined-cycle propulsion system, which comprises a high-Mach turbojet and dual-mode ram/scramjet. The turbine is used for take-off and landing, and to accelerate the vehicle to Mach 4, where the ramjet takes over.
Source: Aviation Week.