Queensland continues focus on hypersonic research

Queensland is continuing its focus on the development of hypersonic aircraft engines in the form of work being undertaken by Dr Fabian Zander.

The University of Southern Queensland’s Zander, a recipient of an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award, is taking supersonics in a new direction, developing an airbreathing propulsion concept for engines that greatly exceed the speed of sound.

Zander said: “An airbreathing rotating detonation engine is a theoretical next step for high-speed flight, but questions remain about how to use an airbreathing inlet to achieve improved engine efficiency.

“This work expands on Australia’s position as a world leader in airbreathing hypersonics, and complements the current expansion of the national aerospace industry.”

As reported in @AuManufacturing news in October, the Australian and UK government have named hypersonic travel as one area of industrial co-operation likely to come from a ‘space bridge’ agreement between the two countries.

Hypersonic, air-breathing engines have been developed for military use, with Russia the first nation to deploy short-range missiles capable of travelling at hypersonic speeds.

Australia has conducted research on hypersonic engines within Defence, and later at the University of Queensland where a test tunnel capable of simulating hypersonic speeds is installed.

UQ has built hypersonic engines tested during the HIFiRE research programme involving DSTO and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

UQ was involved in three of the test flights known as the HyShot series, including one launch of an engine payload (pictured) that flew at speeds of Mach 8.

This story was edited to correct a reference to Dr Zander’s affiliation.

Picture: University of Queensland

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