Mach 20

DARPA, the makers of nightmarish herky-jerky Terminator robots, also made an unmanned vessel called the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, that traveled for 3-minutes at an astonishing Mach 20 -- 20 times the speed of sound -- before its skin peeled off.

That's 13,000 miles per hour.

The flight test was conducted last August and the Pentagon just now released the results. 13,000 miles per hour.

I wonder what Yeager thought of it. Probably didn't like the "unmanned" part.

  • Brutlyhonest

    Unmanned flight, and even combat, has its uses. But until you can give the operator sitting at the ground console the full range of senses available to a pilot in the cockpit unmanned is not the golden ticket.

    Of course, having been a pilot, I’m a bit biased. But I also have real insight into the split-second decision making necessary when hurling ordnance around. Want to know what the visuals are like for a drone operator? Get a straw and look through it. Compare that to your full range of vision – including peripheral.

    As to riding this thing, Yeager didn’t know whether he’d survive or not. I’m with him – I’d get in this thing any time they’d let me!

  • muselet

    DARPA may fund those “herky-jerky Terminator robots,” but on the bright side …


  • OsborneInk

    The “unmanned” part is actually the most important. A hypersonic vehicle would kill a human pilot if it turned inside a radius smaller than California. Mark it down: we are seeing the beginning of the end of manned combat flight.

    • Bubble Genius

      So, are you saying there’ll never be the possibility for me to get to London in an hour? Oh, technology, thou art cruel.

      • D_C_Wilson

        The real bummer is that we’ll never see real-life space battles the way they’ve been portrayed in Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. Space war is going to look more like Battlebots.

      • OsborneInk

        No, it just won’t be possible for you to dogfight at Mach 20. But I’m pretty sure you weren’t interested in being a combat pilot :D

    • D_C_Wilson

      We’ve been heading toward that end for over a decade now. Drones are cheaper, lighter, more maneuverable, and dispense with that extra baggage we call the human body and all the tech needed to keep it alive.

  • Gearóid O’Tuathal

    I bet Yeager thought the “unmanned” part was just fine when he got to the “unskinned” part…

    • Bob Cesca


  • Draxiar

    Wow…around the world in about 2 hours. That’s just around enough time to watch Star Wars as an in flight movie.