Defense Innovation Unit and Hermeus sign contract to reduce risks in developing world’s fastest supersonic aircraft

Hermeus Quarterhorse Hypersonic Aircraft
Hermeus Quarterhorse Hypersonic Aircraft

Hermeus has been awarded a contract by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to mature hypersonic aircraft subsystem and mission system technology. Hermeus will utilize its commercial high-speed flight test prototype, Quarterhorse, to support technical maturation and risk reduction for future hypersonic aircraft. The contract is part of DIU’s Hypersonic and High-Cadence Airborne Testing Capabilities (HyCAT) initiative, which aims to utilize commercial flight test capabilities to expand the Department of Defense’s high-speed flight test capacity. Quarterhorse is the first program on Hermeus’ roadmap to hypersonic flight. The program culminates into two primary objectives:
1. Demonstrate Chimera’s turbine-based combined cycle engine capabilities in-flight
2. Break the nearly 50-year-old airspeed record held by the legendary SR-71“This contract with DIU expands our engagement with the Department of Defense, accelerating the development of future hypersonic aircraft,” commented Hermeus CEO and co-founder, AJ Piplica. “We’re excited to transition Quarterhorse to deliver high-speed flight test as a service and leverage it to mature the key technologies for Darkhorse. This contract is a key element of our bridge across the valley of death on the way to a future operational hypersonic aircraft.”The multi-year award will feature Hermeus’ iterative approach to technology maturation and aircraft development. Through this contract, Hermeus will demonstrate key enabling technologies for hypersonic aircraft in relevant environments preparing them for introduction into future programs. These technologies include propulsion and propulsion integration; thermal management; power generation; and hypersonic mission system capabilities. This effort will transition the world’s fastest aircraft to an operational flight test capability for hypersonic capability experimentation, and validation. The various iterations of Quarterhorse, each progressively increasing in complexity, distribute the program risk across multiple vehicles and accelerate learnings for Hermeus. ?

Hermeus is an aerospace and defense technology company founded to radically accelerate air travel by delivering hypersonic aircraft. The company aims to develop hypersonic aircraft quickly and cost-effectively by integrating hardware-rich, iterative development with modern computing and autonomy. This approach has been validated through design, build, and test of the company’s first combined turbojet-ramjet engine and is now being scaled through its first flight vehicle program, Quarterhorse. Hermeus is also developing Darkhorse — an uncrewed hypersonic aircraft designed to deliver unique asymmetric capabilities to the warfighter.

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