Tests Advance Hypersonic Understanding

Air Force engineers tested a novel hypersonic cruise vehicle design in a wing tunnel in White Oak, Md., according to an Aug. 25 release. They put a scaled twin scramjet-powered vehicle model through the paces in a series of integrated aerodynamic and aerothermal tests in the Arnold Engineering Development Complex’s Hypervelocity Wind Tunnel 9, states the release. This type of vehicle design “had never been explored before,” said Douglas Dolvin, the Air Force Research Lab’s manager for the Hypersonic International Flight Experimentation, or HIFEX, program. It’s a joint US-German effort to mature technologies that could be part of a future hypersonic space-access vehicle or an ultra-fast cruise missile. “The high-quality optical instruments and the measurements technologies employed, including extensive use of temperature sensitive paints, proved to be instrumental in capturing unsteady aerodynamic phenomena that have never been characterized before and formulating an understanding of complex interactions,” said Dolvin.