The Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation (HIFiRE) program is investigating the fundamental science of hypersonics technology and its potential for next generation aeronautical systems and will involve up to ten flights. HIFiRE has been jointly established by DSTO and the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
UQ is involved in three flights in the HIFiRE program. These tests will also be known as HyShot, V, VI and VII.
The flights are planned to for launch at Woomera in South Australia.
The three flights are funded by a $8.5 million Smart State National and International Research Alliances partnership announced last year between UQ, the Queensland Government, Boeing and DSTO (Defence Science and Technology Organisation). This international collaboration allows UQ to build advanced scramjet prototypes and undertake prolonged flight tests at speeds of more than Mach 8.
HyShot V — A free-flying hypersonic glider
HyShot V will be a hypersonic waverider designed to fly at Mach 8 (8000 km/hr). It will separate from its rocket booster in space and perform controlled manoeuvres as it enters the atmosphere. This flight will not have a scramjet attached. It is about learning how to fly a hypersonic vehicle at high altitude. Both an up-and-down trajectory similar to HyShot I-IV, and a more horizontal “depressed” trajectory are being considered for the flight.
HyShot VI — A free-flying Mach 8 scramjet
HyShot VI will use an up-and-down trajectory similar to HyShot flights 1-IV, but the scramjet engine will separate from the rocket and enter the atmosphere on its own at about Mach 8. It will be a payload of around 250 kg (twice the size of the scramjet engines in the HyShot I-IV flight series). The HyShot team will then measure actual thrust levels of the scramjet over about five seconds of scramjet engine operation. The scramjet will be one of the new breed of three-dimensional engines designed by UQ.
HyShot VII - Sustained Mach 8 Scramjet Powered Flight
HyShot VII is the culmination of the other two flights. It will be a scramjet-powered waverider vehicle and its design will make use of the information learned from HyShot V and VI. A depressed trajectory will be used for this flight and the HyShot team plans to fly the scramjet-powered vehicle horizontally for up to a minute at Mach 8. This compares with the brief experimental window of about 5 seconds for HyShot I-IV and VI.