Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Scramjet Powers Record-breaking Flight of X-51A WaveRider

  Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Scramjet Powers Record-breaking Flight of X-51A

PR Newswire

CANOGA PARK, Calif., May 7, 2013

CANOGA PARK, Calif., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --The X-51A WaveRider
hypersonic vehicle, powered by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's SJY61 scramjet
engine, achieved aviation history on May 1 by making the longest-ever
supersonic combustion ramjet-powered flight, flying full duration and
achieving mission success. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United
Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX) company.

"This test flight brings aviation closer than ever to the reality of regular,
sustained hypersonic flight," said Jim Maser, president of Pratt & Whitney
Rocketdyne. "We are very proud to be part of the team that made this

"The X-51A is a critical element in our progression to practical hypersonic
propulsion, providing a greater understanding of hypersonic propulsion
performance, control and structural durability," said George Thum, X-51A
program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

The X-51A program is a collaborative effort of the U.S. Air Force Research
Laboratory, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Boeing and
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.

"It was a full mission success," said Charlie Brink, X-51A program manager for
the Air Force Research Laboratory Aerospace Systems Directorate. "I believe
all we have learned from the X-51A WaveRider will serve as the bedrock for
future hypersonics research and ultimately the practical application of
hypersonic flight."

During this, the X-51A's fourth and final planned flight, the unmanned
WaveRider vehicle was carried beneath the wing of a U.S. Air Force B-52 and
dropped from an altitude of about 50,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean off
southern California. A solid rocket booster fired and propelled the cruiser
to scramjet takeover, creating the supersonic environment necessary to operate
the engine. The scramjet successfully propelled the cruiser more than 230
nautical miles in approximately six minutes, streaking through the sky from
Mach 4.8 to Mach 5.1 while climbing in altitude. The engine ran full
duration, depleting all fuel as planned. It was the longest of the four X-51A
test flights and the longest air-breathing hypersonic flight ever. Early
indications show the propulsion system accomplished all objectives.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider
of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used
in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including engines
for launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.
Behind its successful designs, manufacturing processes, and hardware are Pratt
& Whitney Rocketdyne's research and development engineers, who solve tough
problems in extreme environments. For more information, go to Follow us at and

Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of
aircraft engines, space propulsion systems, auxiliary and ground power units,
small turbojet propulsion products and industrial gas turbines. United
Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Connecticut, is a diversified company
providing high technology products and services to the building and aerospace
industries. To learn more about UTC, visit the website or follow the company
on Twitter: @UTC

SOURCE Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne

Contact: Erin Dick, +1-818-586-4977,, or Carri Karuhn,
+1-818-586-4963,, both of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne
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