Hypersonic HIFiRE Vehicle Hits Mach 8 in Test

A successful HIFire launch. (Credit: DSTO)

CANBERRA, Australia (DSTO PR) — DSTO scientists have successfully conducted a test flight of an experimental hypersonic vehicle at the Andoya Rocket Range in Norway.

The test vehicle reached an apogee of 350 km and then achieved speeds of up to Mach 8 on descent in the experimental band which was from 20.5 km to 32 km in altitude.  All sensor and telemetry systems worked perfectly.

Scientists believe the launch could be a major step forward in the quest for hypersonic flight.

The experimental flight was undertaken as part of a joint research program, HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation), being conducted by DSTO and the US Air Force Research Laboratory.

The program is aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies critical to the realisation of sustained hypersonic flight.

This latest launch was the fifth in a series of up to nine planned experimental flights being conducted as part of the HIFiRE program.

This week, the HIFiRE team will be presented with the prestigious von Karman Award for International Co-operation in Aeronautics at the ICAS Congress in Brisbane.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is part of Australia’s Department of Defence. DSTO’s role is to ensure the expert, impartial and innovative application of science and technology to the defence of Australia and its national interests.