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DARPA Reviving turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion system for hypersonic flight

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posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 04:00 PM

A turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion system to enable routine hypersonic flight by a vehicle that can take-off and land from a runway is back on the agenda at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) after a five-year hiatus.

The experimenting agency has set a “proposers day” on 13-14 July for potential bidders of the Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) programme, which is scheduled to launch as a new-start effort in Fiscal 2017.

Combining a turbine engine with a ramjet in the same vehicle has been a dream for the aerospace industry since the early 1950s, when the US Air Force proposed adapting Republic’s concept for the XF-103 fighter with a ramjet to intercept Soviet bombers at speeds up to Mach 5.

But TBCC concepts are limited by a propulsion gap between the Mach 2.5 top speed of a turbine engine and the Mach 3-3.5 minimum speed for a ramjet engine.

In 2009, DARPA attempted to bridge that gap with a high-speed turbine and a low-speed ramjet under the Mode Transition (MoTr) programme, but the project was cancelled two years later. By 2013, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works organisation appeared to lobby for a revival of the research effort by releasing a concept for a Mach 6.0-capable SR-72 for high-speed surveillance missions, which was based on a similar TBCC propulsion system.

The AFRE programme now seeks to pick up where MoTr left off, leading to a ground demonstration of a fully integrated propulsion system capable of taking-off from a runway and accelerating beyond Mach 5. The system will include an off-the-shelf turbine engine and a dual mode ramjet/scramjet capable of operating with subsonic or supersonic airflows. Both engines share a common inlet and exhaust nozzle, but transition from turbine to ramjet power at a certain speed over Mach 2.5.

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 05:30 PM
Wanna bet it`s already been done about 25-28 years ago? At least the one in the SR72,remember the sky quakes out in California in the late 80`s-90`s.Funny how it takes 20 to 30 years before you get pubic knowledge of advanced tech and they call it new.

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 06:24 PM
a reply to: ridgerunner

They were on the cusp of this sort of stuff in the 1960s with the X-15 derivatives that never went anywhere, (that we know of at least).

In all honesty, this turbine-based combined cycle stuff is no different than the setup pioneered on the Nord Griffon, and I'll bet that the only thing holding it back from operational use at Mach 3+ speeds at the time was 1950s-60s limitations in materials science and heat-management technology.

Then again, remember that Lockheed, the would-be contractor for the X-24C, a rumored X-15 successor, was the entity that invented both the reinforced carbon-carbon AND the silica tile-based thermal protection system (which both emerged seemingly out of the blue in the late 70s as 100% mature technologies when the shuttle needed them).

Just some food for thought...
edit on 27-6-2016 by Barnalby because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 06:42 PM
Yeah,most of this is stuff that's been around and developed far beyond what is admitted.I was a KC 10 crew chief in the 80`s and partied with someone who worked at a aircraft assembly line.Heard a few details that I won`t go into but the SR71 was not the fastest spy plane we had flying at the time.We had to have special fuel cells and bypass systems installed about that time on a test support plane that was pumping a fuel besides jp4,5,or 7 so everything I was told fit together,and that was when the skyquakes began as well.I would love to see whats currently being developed by us and Russia.

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 06:48 PM
a reply to: anzha

Such talk for government is just another stalling tactic because they have far better things operational but can't tell us and open that can of worms as it contains UFOs.

It is quite reasonable to a open-minded and knowledgeable person that since they did take the early UFO capabilities seriously that they eventually decided that jets, rockets and airfoils were really their grandfather's heritage and it was time to get serious about how we would eventually move through the atmosphere (UFO-like) without those encumbering methods. It took them a few generations of development before they developed the triangles and had them operational in units at least by the mid-1980s. Since we are talking about thirty years after developing operational craft, then what must they have now up their sleeves?!

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 07:33 PM
a reply to: ridgerunner

Sounds about right.

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 07:45 PM
Gee I dont know guys a combined cycle sounds sorta heavy, cumbersome and behind the times.

are they sure they arent using tbcc surreptitiously for something way more elegant?

Like lockheed coming out with their new "scramjet" soon.

edit on 27-6-2016 by BASSPLYR because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 07:54 PM
what if this money that gets funded to these contracts actually gets siphoned off into what theyre actually building. They are always so over budget and have no problem letting the out in the public projects fail.

posted on Jun, 27 2016 @ 07:57 PM
I think a lot of the members in this thread know exactly what they mean when they say active full range.

posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 09:55 AM
a reply to: BASSPLYR
May be another model of a more Advanced TBCC, surely some guys on the forum may know exactly where we are in term of hypersonic engine. Since the Falcon program surely some works have been done. I want to see a reusable hypersonic plane before I die. " full range " what that mean ?

edit on 28-6-2016 by darksidius because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 11:20 AM
a reply to: darksidius When the SR72 goes white budget you`ll have one to see,think 4600-4800 mph.It`ll probably be a unmanned version,a cockpit cooled by liquid nitrogen that rolls to take g-forces is a expense and a complicated when remote operation has came so far.As I recall the announcement of it a while back,said it would be unmanned in the public version.

posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 03:12 PM
a reply to: darksidius

I get ya. But think about it. Having a bunch of engines that are dead weight while only one is in operation takes up space and like I say adds unnecessary weight.

Tbcc also wont power lasers.

Wouldn't it be cool if they had something that went from 0-mach 7 with no transitions?

Thats what I mean by full range. No one engine for getting up to mach 3-4, then jumping up into some scramjet you gotta tack on the bottom. Just one engine with a new "compressor" and "afterburner." A one stop shop.

Oh and if it were up to me id want to be able to at will ,turn off that "afterburner" and use that "fuel" (compressor derivitive?) for some stuff we normally associate with sci fi movies.

Oh and id make it scalable so we could put this new "tbcc" into anything from cruise missiles, drones, fighters, bombers (its good for fuel milage too, not just speed in my perfect universe) and of course really, really fast things too.

I dunno I guess its best I bypass this conversation altogether. Im too busy reading some fine textbooks from anne, yueller & hall. The subject medium is pretty electrifying though you gotta admit that.
edit on 28-6-2016 by BASSPLYR because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 03:17 PM
a reply to: ridgerunner

Im a pretty skeptical guy in some ways the depictions of the "sr72" dont seem to fit her mission profile in my opinion. Almost like that bird was designed to do something else. Of couse all speculation from me should be taken with a huge degree of incredulity. I mean common it is bassplyr after all. Im nutty enough to believe in kooky flying triangles that resemble the "tr3b" and that they will sometimes fly them over heavily populated cities for no discernable reason.

posted on Jun, 28 2016 @ 05:01 PM
a reply to: BASSPLYR

I agree with you in the inelegant concept of this AFRE, there is another design based in MHD that IF works will put this next to the steam age.

I agree with you in that SR72 is smoke and mirrors...also, look at the diminute budget for this engine...cover up??

I agree with you regarding kooky things...when she floats out of her hangar, then a lot of things and beliefs will be put on the can. I think we are near.

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