posted on Aug, 5 2021 @ 09:52 PM
The USAF just contracted Hermes Hypersonic - a startup! - to the tune of $60M to design and build a hypersonic UAV. The contract is worth up to $60
million at this point. In truth, this is more than a bit mind boggling.
Rendering of the Hermes:
The USAF is apparently taking the same approach to hypersonics as it is with the 'flying cars' / 'e-vtols.' This provides money for the companies
to move further along in their designs and try to get to flight.
Hermes claims to have a turbine based combined cycle engine. This means it will fly on a normal jet engine up to its limits (a GE J85 in this case)
before switching over to a scramjet for the higher speeds.
Their aircraft - called the Quarterhorse - is actually at the 2nd stage of grants as this contract is the 2nd the company has received. As an aside,
I have to wonder if the Quarterhorse name is a reference to the old Blackhorse proposed by Major Mitch Burnside Clapp, the aerial refueling SSTO.
I find the whole thing a bit...surprising. $60M isn't chump change. To be sure, I doubt they'll get a full Mach 5 bird out of $60M. Even
so...that's a lot to give to a startup from the gov for something so risky.
It's also interesting given Lockheed has an unmanned TBCC bird in the air.
So what does ATS think? Why do this? Why not invest more in Lockheed's bird?