A possible contender to arm USAF’s next generation bomber has fired its scramjet engine for the first and completed a critical design review, according to a Boeing release. Air Force Research Lab’s Propulsion Directorate manages the X-51A WaveRider Scramjet Engine Demonstrator program for a consortium comprising USAF, DARPA, NASA, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The goal is to demonstrate hypersonic technology that Boeing’s Advanced Systems president, George Muellner, says could be used to deliver payloads to space as well as other atmospheric flight applications. He said earlier this year that it might well be adapted for the NGB.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.