Quarterhorse Mk 1

Quarterhorse Mk 1 hypersonic aircraft revealed

Hermeus unmanned vehicle is powered by a GE J85 engine and is expected to fly in 2024

Hermeus, a US startup focused on hypersonic flights, unveiled the Quarterhorse Mk 1 aircraft on March 28.

The new unmanned prototype is the second completed by the company and is tasked with testing high-speed takeoffs and landings, explained Hermeus.

Last year, Hermeus completed tests with the Quarterhorse Mk 0, a ground vehicle that served for preliminary evaluations.

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The Quarterhorse Mk 1 is powered by a GE J85 turbojet and will undergo an intense battery of tests over the next few months until its first flight at the end of 2024, from Edwards Air Force Base, California.

“Moving into the integrated test program is the culmination of a huge team effort and a significant emotional event for the entire company,” said Hermeus Vice President of Test, Don Kaderbek.

Quarterhorse Mk 2 renderings
Quarterhorse Mk 2 renderings (Hermeus)

Hermeus plans to complete four aircraft in this phase of the program. After the first two, the company will have the Mk 2, whose objective is supersonic flight up to Mach 3. It will use a Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, which is more powerful and which powers the F-15 and F-16 fighters.

Finally, the company will make the Mk 3, which aims to be the fastest aircraft in the world, breaking the records held by the US Air Force’s SR-71.

Among Hermeus’ future plans are developing a high-speed drone and a multi-mission hypersonic vehicle for military use.

Furthermore, the company believes it will be able to enable hypersonic passenger flights.