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Talon-A will make its first hypersonic flight with the help of Stratolaunch's Roc

Defence Technology

First hypersonic flight

Roc is currently being readied by Stratolaunch to carry its Talon-A hypersonic test aircraft on its first hypersonic, or Mach 5, flight, possibly before the year is out.

The Roc is a large bird that can hold an elephant in its talons in Middle Eastern mythology.

The enormous Roc aircraft from Stratolaunch, named after the griffin-like monster, has a cargo capacity of up to 500,000 pounds, or more than 33 huge elephants. It occupies a full hanger at the company's manufacturing and test facilities at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. With a wingspan of 385 feet, it is the widest airplane currently in operation.

Roc was initially intended to serve as a space launch platform by Stratolaunch. The aircraft, which was made up of two fuselages from a Boeing 747, was designed to launch tiny rockets into orbit by flying them to high altitudes. The business veered off track in 2019 and refocused on testing hypersonic flight as its new goal.

The company plans to launch Talon-A on a second mission in early 2024, when it will reach hypersonic speeds and land on a runway. After that first flight, Talon-A will dive into the ocean.

In the US Defense Department's hypersonic endeavors, which are centered on creating and deploying high-speed weapons and guarding against comparable systems that China and Russia are constructing, the consequences of a successful Talon-A test campaign are substantial.

In order to achieve this, the US DoD is stepping up its testing, with the ultimate goal of conducting one flight every week by 2022.

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