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originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: BlueJacket
Turbine Based Combined Cycle engine. Right now, to reach hypersonic speeds, the airframe needs a booster to push it to near mach 4, where the scramjet or ramjet engine can start to operate. That means it needs to be air launched.
The TBCC uses a regular turbine based engine to accelerate to the mach 2-3 region, which is about as fast as they can go. Once in that region it switches to a separate fuel, and the engine becomes a ramjet. This allows the hypersonic aircraft to takeoff as a normal aircraft, from anywhere that has a runway.