Hermeus expects to complete several engine tests for its Quarterhorse Mach 5 scaled testing demonstrator by October in preparation for first flight next year, reported Jefferies. The market analyst hosted Hermeus founder and CEO AJ Piplica during its recent Global Industrials Conference. He said development has been on track, with milestones expected in the next four to five weeks of ground testing.
Quarterhorse will be used to test the reliability of Hermeus’s turbine-based combined-cycle engines, based on the GE J85 engine. The U.S. Air Force has a $60 million 50/50 public-private investment in the demonstrator with an interest in capturing flight testing data as it evaluates future procurement decisions.
Following Quarterhorse will be Darkhorse, an aircraft to be the size of an F-15 or F-18 that will be used for long-duration high-speed flight tests and de-risking full-scale propulsion systems and environmental/thermal controls. This is intended to lead up to the development of a 20-seat Halcyon Mach 5 passenger aircraft.
Hermeus executives have reiterated that hypersonic makes sense versus supersonic because the company can leverage defense applications as a potential funding source. The company further has estimated that the costs of operation would be comparable to a supersonic and that each aircraft would be priced in excess of $200 million.