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US to trial unmanned plane flying at Mach 6

Yep – if it had space for a passenger, the plane would still move six times faster than their screams.

The X-51A WaveRider aircraft is seen fixed to the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress before a test run last year.
The X-51A WaveRider aircraft is seen fixed to the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress before a test run last year.
Image: US Air Force

THE US AIR FORCE plans a key test of an experimental aircraft designed to fly at six times the speed of sound, or about 3,600 mph, later today.

The Los Angeles Times reports the unmanned X-51 WaveRider is expected to reach Mach 6 Tuesday when it’s dropped by a B-52 bomber and takes flight off the Southern California coast near Point Mugu.

Engineers hope it sustains its top speed for 300 seconds, twice as long as it’s managed to go before.

Last year in its most recent test, the X-51 fell for about four seconds before its booster rocket ignited, but the aircraft failed to separate from the rocket and plunged into the ocean.

Designed by Boeing, the aircraft is intended to allow the Pentagon to deliver strikes around the globe within minutes.

Read: US military loses world’s fastest ever plane

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Associated Press

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