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Updated: August 11, 2011 19:48 IST

Hypersonic aircraft set for trial this week

ANI
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An artist's rendition released by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency shows the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) separating from the rocket. The Falcon HTV-2 is an unmanned, rocket-launched, maneuverable aircraft that glides through the Earth’s atmosphere at incredibly fast speeds, Mach 20 (approximately 13,000 miles per hour). Photo: AP
AP An artist's rendition released by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency shows the Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2 (HTV-2) separating from the rocket. The Falcon HTV-2 is an unmanned, rocket-launched, maneuverable aircraft that glides through the Earth’s atmosphere at incredibly fast speeds, Mach 20 (approximately 13,000 miles per hour). Photo: AP

An experimental aircraft that could fly at blistering speeds of over 20,000 kmph is all set for trial.

The unmanned, arrowhead-shaped aircraft, dubbed Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, will test new technology that would provide the Pentagon a lightning-fast vehicle capable of delivering a military strike anywhere in the world in under an hour, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

At its top speed it could travel the 17,000 kilometres between London and Sydney in about 49 minutes.

The Falcon is part of Lockheed Martin’s “prompt global strike” concept. It is being funded by U.S.’ Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA.

It is due to be launched aboard a Minotaur IV rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara on Thursday.

The launch had been scheduled for 7am on Wednesday. But when that time rolled around, the Air Force held the countdown.

Thirty minutes later, Vandenberg officials announced on the base’s Facebook page: “Today’s launch of the 30W Minotaur IV rocket has been scrubbed due to poor weather downrange. The launch has been rescheduled for August 11.”

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