New aircraft engine aims for four-hour UK to Australia flight

UK company developing Mach 5.4 engine which could see aircraft jet from Britain to the US in as little as an hour
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A breakthrough in engine technology could see aircraft able to travel from the UK to Australia in just four-hours and to New York in just one.

That’s according to the developers of the Synergetic Air Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE).

UK-based Reaction Engines is designing its SABRE to propel aircraft to speeds of Mach 5.4, more than double the speed of Concord and around five times the speed of sound.

The SABRE engine is designed to be as fuel efficient as a jet engine but with the power of a rocket. Developers reckon the design could be ready as early as the 2030s.

A report by The Mirror quoted Graham Turnock, CEO of UK Space Agency, at the UK Space Conference.

He said: “When we have brought the SABRE rocket engine to fruition, that may enable us to get to Australia in perhaps as little as four hours.”

While the engine itself could launch soon, it will be a while before it can be adopted by commercial aircraft.

Challenges such as avoiding engine overheating are yet to be overcome, although solutions are being developed.

Speaking on the solution to overheating, Mark Thomas, chief executive at Reaction Engines, told The Mirror: "This is a hugely significant milestone which has seen Reaction Engines’ proprietary precooler technology achieve unparalleled heat transfer performance.

"The HTX test article met all test objectives and the successful initial tests highlight how our precooler delivers world-leading heat transfer capabilities at low weight and compact size.”

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