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Raytheon Is Betting on Quarterhorse, the 4,000 MPH Autonomous Aircraft of the Future

Towards the end of last year, a Georgia-based aerospace start-up unveiled the full-scale prototype of a futuristic aircraft that’s competing for the title of world’s fastest air vehicle. After getting the attention of the U.S. Air Force, Hermeus has now gained the confidence of a major player in the industry.
Quarterhorse is an autonomous Mach 5 hypersonic aircraft 9 photos
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Raytheon has recently established a corporate venture capital group called RTX Ventures, and the first investment went to hypersonic technology development, believed to be “of critical importance to national security.”

RTX Ventures is betting on what seems to be a winning “horse,” the incredible aircraft developed by Hermeus, aptly-named Quarterhorse. The company will support the building process of Quarterhorse after joining Hermeus’ $100 million Series B financing round.

Speed is our lifeblood,” said AJ Piplica, Hermeus CEO. And the futuristic Quarterhorse embodies that. First of all, it could fly over the Atlantic in 90 minutes, flying like a bullet at Mach 5, which is almost 4,000 mph (6,100 kph). This would allow it to go from New York to London seven times faster than conventional commercial airliners. This performance is mainly owed to the TBCC (turbine-based combined cycle) engine developed by the team in Georgia.

But this bullet-like aircraft wouldn’t just be extremely fast. It’s also meant to be reusable and autonomous, with the option of being remotely piloted. And it boasts an impressive range of 4,600 miles (7,403 km).

Hermeus won a $60 million contract with USAF last year for the development of its high-speed aircraft, and this fresh boost from Raytheon will accelerate the process even further. According to Raytheon, the project is closer to developing defense applications but will also be used for commercial operations further down the road.

And that’s just the beginning because Hermeus is already working on its next futuristic aircraft, the Darkhorse.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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