RAF looks to a future of space and hypersonics


An artist’s impression of the Reaction Engines Sabre air-breathing hypersonic engine. The RAF is now looking at how to incorporate this technology in existing supersonic engines as well as in potential future platforms under consideration by Team Tempest. Reaction Engines

THE RAF Air and Space Power Conference held in London in July saw senior officials outline an ambitious series of programmes for the service. During the event, the then Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt provided details of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD’s) space programme, including £30m to fast-track the launch of a small satellite demonstrator, under Team Artemis, which involves US and UK defence personnel. Other spacerelated initiatives include the UK joining Operation Olympic Defender – a US-led international space defence coalition – and seconding an RAF test pilot to Virgin Orbit’s ‘small satellite’ programme. Reflecting the shift towards the space domain, the existing Joint Forces Command – which co-ordinates activity across the British Armed Forces – will be transformed into Strategic Command, responsible for air, land, sea, cyber and space activities.

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