GE Aerospace demonstrates hypersonic dual-mode ramjet engine with rotating detonation combustion

Jan. 22, 2024
New architecture with rotating detonation combustion (RDC) could power super-efficient hypersonic vehicles with longer range that exceed MACH 5.

NISKAYUNA, NY - GE Aerospace in Cincinnati, Ohio announced it has demonstrated what it believes to be a world-first hypersonic dual-mode ramjet (DMRJ) rig test with rotating detonation combustion (RDC) in a supersonic flow stream at its research center in Niskayuna, New York. This could help enable high-speed, long-range flight with increased efficiency. GE Aerospace is preparing to launch a standalone company focused on hypersonics in the second quarter of 2024.

A typical air-breathing DMRJ propulsion system can only begin operating when the vehicle achieves supersonic speeds of greater than Mach 3. GE Aerospace engineers are working on a rotating detonation-enabled dual-mode ramjet that is capable of operating at lower Mach numbers, enabling the flight vehicle to operate more efficiently and achieve longer range. 

“As the aerospace sector sets its sight on the future of hypersonics, GE Aerospace is well positioned with the right capabilities, experience, and scale to be a leader in driving new developments for our customers,” said Amy Gowder, President and CEO, GE Aerospace, Defense & Systems. “The highly successful demonstration of a DMRJ with RDC is an outgrowth of our 10+ years of RDC work, including the strategic acquisition of Innoveering that has brought leading technologies and experience in hypersonic propulsion and ramjets.”

This accomplishment, the company says, is part of an expansive technology portfolio where GE Aerospace is actively engaged in the development and scaling of critical areas such as high-temperature materials and electronics. The company has delved into high-temperature ceramic matrix composites (CMCs), silicon carbide power electronics, additive technologies, and advanced thermal management within its engine business.


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