USA & Elon Musk Finally Reveal New Hypersonic Jet To Beat Russia & Putin: The military race between the US and Russia is getting to new levels, especially with the European country’s recent aggression in Ukraine! For this reason, the US military cannot afford to not out-innovate Russia in the military space.
One asset that the US has in the race and Russia wishes it has is Elon Musk! The billionaire industrialist has been coming up with innovations that the US military can incorporate into its military assets.
One such asset is the terrifying but secretive hypersonic fighter jet that the US is developing under Project Mayhem that would come in handy against Russia! Elon Musk is a versatile inventor, and his genius capabilities span several products across several industries!
For example, he has already left his mark on the EV industry by being solely responsible for bringing EVs to the limelight and turning them into vehicles that people lust over! As a result, his EV company, Tesla, is the biggest in its category, shipping the most electric cars for a single company last year!
Tesla is also the biggest automobile company judging by market capitalization! The military has been following Tesla’s progress closely and is now working on using one of the company’s strengths in its hardware; battery!
The US Air Force has given a contract to Lockheed Martin that will see laser weapons mounted on fighter jets! The laser system needs an energy storage solution, and Lockheed Martin is turning to the same lithium-ion batteries powering EVs!
Thanks to innovations by Tesla, EV lithium-ion batteries have matured to the stage that the US Air Force will use them in its fighter jets! Musk is also innovating in the space industry, and his company, SpaceX, has quickly risen to the top of the pile, overtaking behemoths along the way!
It regularly delivers payloads to the International Space Station, including crew and cargo, the only private company to do so! Under the guidance of Musk, SpaceX is developing the Starship, the tallest and most powerful rocket ever conceived!
Even before the Starship is ready, Musk’s SpaceX owns and operates the most powerful rockets in action, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, which he uses to deliver payloads to orbit for itself and other private customers!
As a visionary, Musk looks forward to colonizing Mars. That is when the Starship will really come alive, making numerous trips between the earth and the Red Planet as it takes both cargo and the settlers on inter-planetary missions!
Meanwhile, SpaceX’s clients include the US military, and the company has been cleared to deliver sensitive payloads to orbit multiple times! It has already handled some launches for the US Space Force, to resounding success!
Given the relationship between Musk and the US military through his companies, it is little wonder that the billionaire CEO wants to make a supersonic jet. In a tweet, Musk exclaimed he was dying to make a supersonic jet!
However, as the boss of the biggest EV company, Musk is going the battery-powered route by making the jet electric! It is easy to imagine Musk doesn’t like the fossil fuel-powered private jet he uses and would like to retire it as soon as possible. However, Musk’s pals over at the US Air Force are working on a secretive hypersonic air vehicle program named Mayhem!
Pentagon recently released some details about this project that has kept war analysts guessing for some time now! However, before we get into all the juicy details about the secretive Mayhem program, what does a hypersonic flight mean exactly? Let’s take it from the basics!
As an aircraft moves through the air, the air molecules near the aircraft are disturbed and move around the aircraft. Exactly how the air reacts to the aircraft depends upon the ratio of the aircraft’s speed to the speed of sound through the air.
Because of the importance of this speed ratio, aerodynamicists have designated it with a special parameter called the Mach number in honor of Ernst Mach, a late 19th- century physicist who studied gas dynamics. For aircraft speeds that are much greater than the speed of sound, the aircraft is said to be hypersonic.
Typical speeds for hypersonic aircraft are greater than 3000 mph, and Mach number M greater than five, M > 5! Why is hypersonic aircraft the choice for modern warfare?
According to Brad Leland, former Program Manager for Hypersonic at Lockheed Martins, said, “Hypersonic aircraft, coupled with hypersonic missiles, could penetrate denied airspace and strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour. … Speed is the next aviation advancement to counter emerging threats in the next several decades.”
The Mayhem program was previously officially known as “Expendable Hypersonic Multi- Mission Air-Breathing Demonstrator” but that has now changed to “Hypersonic Multi- mission ISR and Strike.”
However, Mayhem is part of a larger Air Force Research Lab effort known as Enabling Technologies for High-Speed Operable Systems, ETHOS. What does the US Air Force want to achieve with Mayhem?
The aim is to deliver a larger class air-breathing hypersonic system capable of executing multiple missions with a standardized payload interface, providing significant technological advancement and future capability.
The system goal is to carry payloads five times the mass and double the range of current technology capability systems. The standardized payload interface would create multiple opportunities for various payload integration within the same hypersonic system.
Due to the secretive nature of Mayhem, no information is provided about the current technology capability systems that the program requirements have been derived from.
In fact, the contract document says that this requirement will be classified Secret, possibly requiring Top Secret access at later stages of the requirement. But we know Mayhem has a program ceiling of 371 million dollars.
The Mayhem air vehicle will carry one of three payloads, including “area effect payload,” a “large unitary payload,” and a “Responsive, Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance or ISR payload”! But what payload exactly is the Air Force interested in with Mayhem?
We have put together some possibilities; that the Air Force is talking about distinct “area effect” and “large unitary” types strongly suggests that the first one envisions a payload of cluster munitions or something similar, such as a swarm of small drones.
An advanced high- explosive fragmentation warhead would also provide an “area effect” but would be a unitary design. At the same time, “large unitary” might cover larger warheads designed to provide different kinds of effects against single targets, such as deep-penetrating capabilities for use against bunkers and other hardened facilities. Don’t forget that these are just some possibilities, and with the information available now, we can’t say for sure what the exact design of these payloads might be.
The ISR package could similarly include any number of different sensors. But of course, the Air Force has previously confirmed that Mayhem is connected to research and development of “advanced scramjet propulsion technologies” and “multi- cycle” jet engine designs.
This had appeared to point to work on turbine-based combined cycle, TBCC, or dual-mode scramjet engine types. The basic idea behind these kinds of jet engine designs is to get around the fact that scramjets and ramjets do not perform reliably at lower speeds.
Coupling them with a more traditional jet turbine would enable an air vehicle to operate reliably in that lower speed range. When applied to a reusable manned or unmanned aircraft, this engine configuration would theoretically allow for a design that can fly at hypersonic speeds during the midcourse portion of a sortie and take off and land like a more traditional plane using existing runway infrastructure.
This has long been seen as a Holy Grail capability for a viable hypersonic aircraft. Michael White, the Principal Director for Hypersonics in the Pentagon’s Office of the Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization, described Mayhem, “Project Mayhem is to look at the next step in what the opportunity space allows relative to hypersonic cruise missile systems.
And so if you look at what we’re doing right now and the sizes that we’re looking at to deliver capability, you get a certain range and a certain payload to that range, and certain compatibility with the air platforms that we have today.” He continues what the secretive Mayhem is about.
“Project Mayhem says, OK, what happens — what can we do to build a much bigger system to deliver more effects at longer range?” he continued.
“And so really, it’s looking at that kind of evolution of capability that you might get to extend out what you can achieve with a highly efficient air-breathing platform — weapon platform and take advantage of that efficiency but still extend the range to significant — significantly longer ranges than what we’re doing today.”
It very much remains to be seen how the Air Force’s Mayhem program will evolve and what prototype designs it ultimately produces. Let’s hear what you think of the secretive Project Mayhem in the comment section below.