The U.S. Air Force partnership means the aero startup is “fully funded to flight” of its first aircraft, the autonomous Quarterhorse, aimed at validating its revolutionary TBCC engine concept and proving that it can make an aggressive timeline for Mach 5 passenger aircraft in 2029.
Hermeus, the Atlanta-based startup developing Mach 5 aircraft, has announced the signing of a $60 million U.S. Air Force partnership for flight testing its first aircraft. Called Quarterhorse, the aircraft will validate the company’s proprietary turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine (based on a GE J85 turbojet) and is the first in its line of autonomous high-speed aircraft. By the end of the flight-test campaign, the company says that the Quarterhorse will be the fastest reusable aircraft in the world and the first of its kind to fly a TBCC engine.
The award was made under the AFWERX Strategic Funding Increase program led by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate (PE) as a follow-on to a Phase II SBIR contract awarded to Hermeus in August 2020. The collaboration also includes support from the Air Force Research Laboratory.
“Reducing risk in high-speed transport technologies, as we are doing with this contract, provides near-term and long-term benefits to both the U.S. Air Force and the defense industrial base, said Lt. Col.