Hypersonic aviation startup Hermeus unveiled on Thursday the first Quarterhorse Mk0 fully integrated vehicle that will validate various systems from electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, avionics, steering, and propulsion.
Quarterhorse is a remotely piloted high-speed aircraft. The goal of Quarterhorse is to validate the new Chimera engine in-flight and touch Mach 4+ speeds – breaking the nearly 50-year-old airspeed record held by the legendary SR-71.
The company has secured in 2021 some $60 million in funding from the U.S. Air Force and venture capital firms to support the Quarterhorse flight test program.
The company will use the vehicle to validate its Chimera turbine-based combined cycle engine, which is built on General Electric’s J85 turbojet system, which powers the Air Force’s T-38 jet trainer.
According to a press release from Hermeus, Mk 0 will not take flight but demonstrate remote command and control during taxiing.
Serving as a comprehensive testbed for Quarterhorse, Mk 0 will validate various systems including electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, avionics, steering, and propulsion. Although it won’t take flight, this prototype vehicle will put to the test Flight Deck’s command and control system.
As noted by the startup, this vehicle harnessed the Hermeus team’s experience in engineering and challenged the “way it’s always been done” – all in the pursuit of hypersonic speed.
As Mk 0 gears up for taxi testing, it signifies more than just vehicle construction but rather a different type of aerospace development and manufacturing that embraces integrated hardware and software testing with a culture of iteration and speed.
Meanwhile, the next Quarterhorse Mk 1vehcile is actively taking shape in The Factory.