Hypersonic flight tests successful

Rocket launch in Woomera, May 2016, to test hypersonic speed at more than five times the speed of sound.

The Defence, Science and Technology (DST) Group and US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) have successfully completed experimental hypersonic flights tests at the Woomera Test Range.

Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the success of these flight tests takes Australia one step closer to the realisation of hypersonic flight for defence, space and commercial applications.

"Hypersonic flight is more than five times the speed of sound and has the potential to revolutionise air travel, making it faster and cheaper to travel around the world and into space," said Minister Payne.

"There are key military applications of this technology and by understanding hypersonic flight, the Australian Defence Force will be in a better position to respond to future threats."

The experimental flight took place at the Woomera Test Range, South Australia, and was part of a joint research program conducted by DST Group and AFRL, partnering with Boeing, BAE Systems and the University of Queensland.

Woomera was selected as the test site because of its location, vast area and ability to support continuous telemetry collection during the flight. This experiment helps Defence and its partners to understand controlled flight at hypersonic speed.

Minister Payne said the hypersonic international flight research experimentation (HIFiRE) team has achieved significant milestones, including design, assembly and pre-flight testing of the hypersonic vehicles, and design of complex avionics and flight systems.

"While this is the last in the HIFiRE series, Australia remains at the leading edge of hypersonics research, test and evaluation, thanks to the work of this dedicated team of Defence scientists and their industry and academic partners," Minister Payne said.

Australia and the US are now developing plans for the next phase of flight experiments.

Hypersonic flight tests successful
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