A new hypersonic aircraft mounted under the wing of a carrier plane was launched on a test flight yesterday. But the experiment ended in disappointment when it broke apart over the Pacific.
The US Air Force said it lost control due to a “faulty control fin”. The 31 seconds of flight fell far short of the military’s goal for the X-51A to fly for five minutes.
The Waverider is designed to reach speeds of six times the speed of sound – fast enough to zoom from London to New York in one hour – but not today!
The US military wants to use the Waverider programme to develop high-speed cruise missiles.
This was the third of four X-51A aircraft built for the military. The Air Force said in a statement that one of the aircraft remains and that a decision has not been made “when or if that vehicle will fly at this time.”