Jun 5, 2023
Hermeus has accepted its first F100 engine from Pratt & Whitney. Set to be integrated into the enhanced Chimera II turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) propulsion system, this powerful engine component marks a critical milestone in Hermeus' development of Darkhorse which is set to unlock new possibilities in both military and commercial hypersonic applications.
Recognizing propulsion as the critical challenge in achieving hypersonic flight, Hermeus has been dedicated to the development of its proprietary turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine architecture without diluting their efforts in reconstructing already proven and reliable components. The F100 will propel the unmanned Darkhorse aircraft to speeds of approximately Mach 2.8. At this transition point, a ramjet will take over, propelling Darkhorse to its target velocity of Mach 5.
While developing Quarterhorse, a demonstrator vehicle designed for high-Mach flight testing, the Hermeus engine architecture has been proven through the first iteration of Chimera which utilizes the General Electric J85 as its core. Consistent with their fundamentals Hermeus has developed and manufactured in-house the other engine components including the inlet, precooler, ram burner, and bypass system. These elements will all be scaled up for integration into the advanced Chimera II.
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Darkhorse will serve as a multifaceted hypersonic vehicle aimed at meeting the needs of the Department of Defense and will act as a precursor to Hermeus' visionary civil hypersonic transport design, Halcyon.
In a recent interview Chris Johnson, Vice President for Fighter and Mobility Programs at Pratt & Whitney, expressed his confidence in the Hermeus team, stating, "At the end of the day, it's the Hermeus team that's going to take this whole enterprise to Mach 5."
This collaboration between Hermeus and Pratt & Whitney brings together Pratt’s rich history in high-speed propulsion, stretching back to the development of engines like the J58 for the Mach 3-plus Lockheed SR-71, and Hermeus’ ambitious vision for the future of hypersonic aviation. Hermeus anticipates that Quarterhorse will break the speed record of the SR-71 and Darkhorse will push the boundary even further.