Reaction Engines Begins Testing of Breakthrough High-mach Propulsion Technology Under Contract with U.S. Department of Defense

Engine on the test stand. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

ABINDON, UK (Reaction Engines PR) — Reaction Engines today revealed the start of a new testing campaign to expand the performance envelope of their high-Mach enabling technology through the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) Program at the Department of Defense and supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The FCT Program is administered by the Directorate of Defense Research and Engineering for Advanced Capabilities and is focused on the discovery, assessment, and testing of leading foreign technology with the potential to satisfy U.S. Defense technical demands. The program seeks high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) technologies that could rapidly and economically satisfy current and emerging requirements. 

As described by William Reed, the Air Force FCT manager, “FCT demonstrates U.S. commitment to a ‘two-way street’ for defense procurements with both allied and friendly nations.  Reaction Engines technology is world-class and is a great fit for the FCT program.”

The new test campaign aims to build upon the success of the previous HTX test program of the Reaction Precooler by significantly increasing the delivered air mass flow rate and other test parameters which will result in a three-fold increase in the total energy transfer through the engine heat exchanger.  The planned test points for the FCT tests were selected to be characteristic of the integration of Reaction Engines thermal management technology with state-of-the-art jet engines.  

Andrew Piotti, the Engineering Manager for Reaction Engines U.S., shared that “The exciting outcome that I am looking forward to over the coming weeks is the validation that our technology could enable current jet engines to operate from takeoff up through Mach 4 and beyond.”

The Reaction Engines U.S. team has been making steady progress since contract award in mid-2021.  The tripling of the planned heat load triggered the need for several system upgrades to the company’s TF2 high-temperature test site at the Colorado Air and Space Port and the team has rapidly progressed through all design milestones and integration of new hardware.  

“Our unique ability to achieve high-Mach relevant propulsion test conditions on the ground really lets us move fast and affordably,” observed Dr. Adam Dissel, President of Reaction Engines U.S., “I am so proud of the innovation and drive evident in this combined Reaction Engines and Government team and I know they will keep performing now that the heat is on!”