Brazil reveals details of 14-X hypersonic vehicle
With first flight of the 14-X waverider scramjet scheduled in 2013, Brazilian military officials have revealed details of the country’s first venture into hypersonic flight tests.
The 14-X is a 2 x 0.8m (6.5 x 2.6ft) vehicle designed to demonstrate speeds beyond Mach 6.0. If the design is sound, Brazil could scale up the vehicle to deliver mini-satellites into space, says Maj Roberto Follador, 14-X flight test director for Brazil’s department of aerospace science and technology.
Air-breathing scramjets, in theory, can carry 15% of their mass as payload. In contrast, rockets must carry their own oxygen for combustion, and payloads comprise only 5% of their total mass, Follador says.
Brazil launched the 14-X programme in 2006, the centennial year of the first flight of the 14-Bis - Brazil’s first powered aircraft.