High Speed Ahead for Falcon

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Falcon program has progressed from wind tunnel testing and is gearing up for flight testing, says Stephen Welby, director of the agency’s Tactical Technology Office. Speaking at the Precision Strike Association’s winter meeting on Jan. 23, he said the program, which is maturing hypersonic technologies, would conduct flight experiments with Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2. This design features an airframe with a modified air shell to assess guidance and control subsystems at speeds up to Mach 20. HTV-2 will be invaluable in enabling researchers to understand the ability of a high-speed vehicle to withstand the stresses placed on the airframe and its protective thermal shell when it flies for an extensive time in the atmosphere, Welby said.