The start-up Hermeus, which develops hypersonic aircraft technology, has gained a strong supporter, Raytheon. The US aerospace giant has decided to participate in a $100 million investment round that will support the Quarterhorse and Darkhorse projects.
Raytheon does not say its stake in the investment, only that it will be made by the newly created corporate venture capital group, RTX Ventures.
“Hypersonic technologies are of critical importance to national security, which is why we made our first investment in a company with such a bold plan and vision in this space,” said Daniel Ateya, managing director of RTX Ventures.
Hermeus was founded by Vinod Khosla, the billionaire who was one of the founders of Sun Microsystems. The company is developing the Quarterhorse, an unmanned aircraft capable of reaching Mach 5.
The first prototype was presented by Hermeus in November and had the J85 engine fired in a very mediatic event – the aircraft however will not be used in flights, only ground tests.
To achieve high speeds, the Quarterhorse will use a technology called TBCC (Turbine-Based Combined Cycle), which means combining a common turbojet engine with a Ramjet or Scramjet.