China Hypersonic Weapons Team Unveil 3,700 MPH Jet Bomber

Chinațs hypersonic I-Plane 5 photos
Photo: Sotuh China Morning Post
NASA QueSST airplaneNASA QueSST airplaneNASA QueSST airplaneNASA QueSST airplane
NASA’s and Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ QueSST X-Plane will soon have a rival that would outmatch it in every aspect, should the Chinese have their way and finally go producing the monster of an airplane they previewed last week.
The still officially unnamed aircraft will not be supersonic, but hypersonic, capable of reaching speeds of 3,700 mph (6,000 km/h), or nearly six times the speed of sound. At least, this is what researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences claim.

According to The Independent, the plane has already begun testing its capabilities as a scaled-down model. In wind tunnel testing, the plane reached a heart-stopping 5,300 mph (8,600 km/h), without generating much drag.

It’s not clear how the Chinese scientists managed to keep drag so low as to allow the plane to reach those speeds. For QueSST, the most significant problem faced by the engineers is this force, one they are trying to solve with the use of a swept wing design with laminar flow.

The Chinese version in turn has two sets of wings, one pointing forward and the other backward. The assemble apparently held weld during the wind tunnel test of the scaled-down model.

According to South China Morning Post, the plane is dubbed by its creators the I-Plane, a name inspired by the shadow the airplane would cast on the ground when it comes in as a dive-bomber.

The team that built is is led by Cui Kai, and is, says the source, the same one involved in China’s top secret hypersonic weapons program.

Should the plane ever enter production, it would cut the normal travel time between Beijing and New York from 13 and a half hours to under two hours. Depending on the mood of the Chinese government and on its relations with the U.S., it might be carrying anything from flowers to bombs, as Cui Kai allegedly said.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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