The coming of age of Scramjet
Though Hyshot 1 failed in October of 2001, HyShot 2 scored big time the following year, it’s successful ignition beating NASA’s sleek $US185 million scramjet, the X43, to the punch and turning the heads of boffins around the world who had assumed NASA had the only game in town.
Since then, Australia’s DSTO (Defence Science and Technology Organisation) put Paull and his team on their payroll while the US Air Force came in as partners on HyCAUSE and HIFiRE, projects that expanded HyShot’s experiments and continued the vertical launch premise. The military application for scramjet fighters or cruise missiles is obvious, but the trickle-down effect for civilian uses are inevitable.
Though the budgets of the programs have escalated, from $A1.5 million for HyShot, $A5 million for HyCAUSE, and $A70 million for HIFiRE, the outlay, given the promise of the technology, still seems inexplicably modest from the Australian Government’s end, since the country has never fully funded any of them, and US Air Force has ponied up for 50 per cent of the last two.
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