The Pratt & Whitney F100 turbofan has been selected to act as the turbine portion of Hermeus’ Turbine-Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) engine Chimera II.
Chimera II will power Hermeus’ Darkhorse hypersonic Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) designed for defense and intelligence customers. The aircraft has multi-mission flexibility and is fully reusable.
The Chimera II TBCC is a hybrid between a turbine engine and a ramjet. This allows for both low-speed and high-speed operation. The benefit of this engine architecture is the ability for aircraft to takeoff from traditional airports using existing infrastructure – something that rocket-based hypersonic vehicles are unable to do.
According to Hermeus, securing an off-the-shelf turbine engine will save the company billions of dollars in research and development costs and years of schedule. This engine contract keeps the Darkhorse program on track for engine testing in 2024.
“The F100 is a legendary turbine engine that will fit within our larger engine architecture extremely well,” said Hermeus CTO Glenn Case. “We chose it for its reliability, performance, and because it’s currently in production. We’re thrilled to have Pratt & Whitney as a partner on our journey to making hypersonic flight a reality.”
“The F100 engine recently celebrated 50 years of service and 30 million flight hours, demonstrating its dependability and capabilities,” said Chris Johnson, VP of Fighter and Mobility Programs at Pratt & Whitney. “Pratt & Whitney’s participation with Hermeus’ Darkhorse program is a great example of creating innovative partnerships in aviation and will play a crucial role in addressing our national security challenges.”