Title: High-Speed Flight and the Military
Subject: High-speed flight: Program status and its potential for military applications
Author(s): Matthew H. Molloy; Elizabeth L. A. Idell (Faculty Advisor)
DTIC Keywords: ATTACK BOMBERS, BOMBER AIRCRAFT, HIGH SPEED BOMBING, JET BOMBERS, JET TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT, MILITARY TRANSPORTATION
Abstract: This paper makes a qualitative assessment of NASA's High-Speed Research program and its associated High-Speed Civil Transport (HSCT) program to answer the question of whether or not this Mach 2.4-class, 300 passenger transport and its supersonic business jet (SSBJ) counterpart could have value to future military operations. This research found that supersonic transports such as the HSCT and the SSBJ could be in production within 10-20 years. Based on the projected operating capabilities of the HSCT and the SSBJ, this paper presents several plausible military missions these vehicles could support. The list includes: rapid transoceanic support of AEF operations and priority airlift missions; aeromedical support; CINC and distinguished visitor movement, special operations support, and crisis response support. This paper then presents a plan for which a future bomber could be developed based on the technology and research generated by the High-Speed Research program. This bomber would provide a critical next-step towards achieving a hypersonic flight (Mach 5 or faster) vehicle. Military investment in the High-Speed Research program would yield benefits beyond a next-generation bomber. It would also stimulate the civil aerospace sector's production of the HSCT and thereby provide both the military and the nation quicker access to a supersonic transport capability.