Fox News on March 18, 2016 reported that Lockheed Martin says it’s developing a Mach 6 aircraft that would be faster than any other fighter jet. Excerpts below:
Called the Hypersonic Test Vehicle 3X, or HTV-3X, the new plane could reach speeds of more than six times the typical cruising speed of the Boeing 747-8, which has been chosen as the next presidential aircraft. It will also far outpace anything flown by America’s adversaries.
“We accomplished several breakthroughs on HTV-3X. And we’re now producing a controllable, low-drag, aerodynamic configuration capable of stable operation from take-off, to sub-sonic, trans-sonic, super-sonic, and hypersonic to Mach 6, ” Lockheed Martins CEO said in a statement.
“And most importantly, we’re proving a hypersonic aircraft can be produced at an affordable price. We estimate it will cost less than $1 billion dollars to develop, build, and fly a demonstrator aircraft the size of an F-22,” she added.
The HTV-3X would be three times faster than the F-22 Raptor fighter jets, flying at 4,600 miles per hour – meaning it could travel the distance of the Earth’s circumference in about five and half hours or the time it takes a 747 to travel from New York to Los Angeles.
At the same time, Lockheed’s legendary Skunk Works is working on other secret hypersonic aircraft including the Falcon HTV-2. The unmanned aircraft is launched on a rocket and could achieve Mach 20 speeds – that’s 13,000 miles per hour. At those speeds, it could leave New York City and arrive in Los Angeles in less than 12 minutes.
Developing a hypersonic aircraft would support the Department of Defense’s aim to achieve Conventional Prompt Global Strike – conducting airstrikes against any target, anywhere in the world within one hour.
Comment: This would mean that the United States could in the future deliver a nuclear strike anywhere in the world within an hour.