PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - The Pentagon Is Using the SR-71's Legendary Engine for... Something
Old 23rd Nov 2021, 18:37
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Originally Posted by havoc View Post
The Pentagon Is Using the SR-71's Legendary Engine for... Something (msn.com)

Pratt & Whitney has quietly been working on reusable engines capable of powering an aircraft at hypersonic or near-hypersonic speeds.
  • The engine maker is reportedly going back to its work developing the engines on the SR-71 Blackbird.
  • Studies indicate the Blackbird’s J58 engine could be developed to provide even more power, making aircraft faster.
  • The company behind the SR-71 Blackbird’s engine is reportedly working on a hypersonic engine design that draws on that jet’s legendary power plant.

  • Pratt & Whitney, which developed the J58 engine that powered the Blackbird, is now scheming up a reusable, low-cost hypersonic engine called the Metacomet. The effort leads to the question of what, exactly, the Pentagon has in mind for the engine.

    Pratt & Whitney started working on the Metacomet two years ago, according to Aviation Week & Space Technology. The company’s Gatorworks division is dusting off its work on the J58, which allowed the SR-71 to reach a record-breaking Mach 3.2, with the hopes of using it to help create a new engine capable of propelling a new vehicle even faster.

    The J58 was a one-of-a-kind engine. Its unique trick involved the ability to transition from turbojet engine to turbo-ramjet engine in flight, sucking in vast amounts of oxygen-rich air and burning it to drastically increase engine output. Each J58 could generate up to 32,000 pounds of thrust in afterburner mode, a spectacular feat for an engine designed in the 1950s.

    The J58 made the SR-71 the fastest air-breathing plane ever. In March 1990, the SR-71 flew from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. in just over an hour, traveling at an average speed of 2,144 miles per hour.

    For all of its power, however, the J58 engine is more than 60 years old. A new J58, updated with modern materials and advanced cooling systems, could generate even more power, Aviation Week says. Sources say the Metacomet is likely aiming for a speed somewhere between Mach 4 and Mach 5.

    But where does the new engine belong? The most likely candidate is in an unmanned, high-speed strategic reconnaissance aircraft. In November 2013, Lockheed Martin proposed the“SR-72,” a follow-up to the SR-71, and observers allegedly spotted a sub-scale flight demonstrator in 2017. That’s the last time we heard anything about the SR-72.

    Meanwhile, the engine might be meant for the Air Force Research Lab’s Mayhem demonstrator, which the Air Force describes as a “larger-scale expendable air-breathing hypersonic multi-mission flight demonstrator.” Mayhem will be capable of “carrying larger payloads over distances further than current hypersonic capabilities allow.”
Hmmm, what do you all reckon @2:33 in this video please

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