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China successfully completes hypersonic engine test

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

China's home-grown turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine system has entered the aircraft-engine integration test phase, a major step toward the development of the country's next generation hypersonic drone, according to a state-run media.

The engine combines a turbine and a scramjet engine, which offers an ideal single-engine solution to achieve the shift from low speed to hypersonic speed, Liu Xingzhou, an expert with told

An article published by the WeChat account of Chengdu Research and Design Institute, a design facility of the Chengdu Industrial Co, on Thursday said the engine flight test project is led by the institute's Wang Haifeng, who also led key national defence projects, such as the development of the and fighter jets.

The engine will allow the to fly at speeds of up to Mach 6, which means five to six times faster than the speed of sound, said Wei Xudong, a Beijing-based

The TBCC engine, which is bigger and more expensive than traditional ones, is primarily used in hypersonic cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft, including supersized reconnaissance drones and pilotless bombers, since no human could stand long periods of hypersonic flights, Wei told on Monday.

Wei also stressed that once the TBCC matures, missiles outfitted with it will be impossible to intercept.

For years, US has been working on the development of the SR-72 using the TBCC propulsion system. The SR-72's top speed will be Its first flight is expected in 2023, and scheduled to enter service by 2030, US defense website reported.

The SR-72 is the successor of the fastest aircraft the world has seen, the SR-71, a Cold War reconnaissance jet that the retired in 1998.

As Chinese firms rapidly develop their own TBCC engine, a Chinese version of the SR-72 will not be far off, Wei predicted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 14:05 IST