Russia's JSC Gromov Flight Research Institute took the opportunity at MAKS 2019, which was held from 27 August to 1 September, to reveal a new system for testing hypersonic flight technologies.
The 6 m long, 3,000 kg test object vehicle, referred to as an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) by the company, is attached to universal booster rockets developed by the company and carried on board an Ilyushin IL-76 LL mothership aircraft.
The mothership carries a manipulator arm that aids in the launch and recovery of the test aircraft, which is deployed from its stern cargo bay door. The manipulator arm lowers the vehicle into the aircraft's slipstream prior to launch.
The rocket booster is ignited after the test vehicle is released from the mothership, and is utilised for accelerating the test object aircraft to velocities between Mach 3 and Mach 4 before separating from the aircraft.
The supersonic airflow entering the inlet of the vehicle enables its scramjet engine to start, which subsequently accelerates it to hypersonic velocities.
Instrumentation on board the test vehicle transmits telemetry data that can be processed by the Il-76 LL mothership or suitably placed ground-based processing centres.
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