In a recent article on the Reuters website, author Alex Dobuzinskis reported that the experimental unmanned aircraft, the X-51A, was launched from a B-52 bomber and flew for about 31 seconds before breaking apart and falling into the Pacific Ocean due to a faulty fin used for stability. The Air Force was hoping to test the “scramjet” engine and see if it could sustain Mach 6 (six times the speed of sound) for about five minutes. I just wrote about this test the other day, and I’m disappointed that they had problems.
The aircraft, which is being developed as a missile-type vehicle, is expected to eventually to capable of delivering an explosive payload to any target in the world within one hour. Right now, it seems as if it can deliver a broken fuselage anywhere within a 31-second radius.