Hermeus’ hypersonic aircraft prototype needs to demonstrate commercial viability, says GlobalData

Following the news that Hermeus has unveiled a hypersonic aircraft prototype;

William Davies, Associate Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“While hypersonic aircraft are seen as aspirational by many, the ground test of the engine and claims by Hermeus that a test flight will be achieved next year put the technology squarely in the realms of reality.

“A key question as to the viability of the product is whether it has commercial utility versus sustainable aviation solutions. While hypersonic aircraft can potentially achieve significant speeds, much of the existing consumer demand is focused on sustainable aviation. Ramjets or scramjets are required for hypersonic propulsion –traditional engines powered by sustainable fuels cannot be used.

“Hermus has been supported by the US Air Force and has the aim of developing a functioning hypersonic passenger aircraft by 2030. However, any aircraft operating in the commercial space would be expensive to operate and limited in terms of routes because of the speeds at which they travel and the resulting sonic boom – though work is being done to address these problems.

“GlobalData notes that Hermeus is a disruptor in the hypersonic technologies market, challenging major companies such as Boeing. Both companies are developing hypersonic aircrafts for commercial use and have successfully tested an air-breathing rocket on their X-51 aircraft.

“Hermeus has touted flying times between London and New York as being 90 minutes with this new technology, however, questions as to the commercial utility of this product – if it can even be safely achieved – remain.”

*Information taken from GlobalData’s report: Hypersonic Technologies (Defense) – Thematic Research

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