Even before Top Gun: Maverick came out and reignited people’s fascination regarding supersonic flight, several aviation groups and startups already had prototypes in development. One of those we previously featured was the Quarterhorse by Hermeus. In 2022, the company got its hands on metal 3D printers by Velo3D. Zoom forward to 2024 and the Quarterhorse Mk 1 is scheduled to take flight soon.

It’s a remarkable achievement for the group as reports tell us it took them roughly seven months to complete two prototypes. We’re guessing the 3D printers they acquired are a huge factor here as parts can be fabricated with exceptional accuracy.

The Quarterhorse Mk 0 never took to the skies but conducted extensive testing of the platform’s systems. These include the avionics, electrical, hydraulics, pneumatics, and other crucial elements of the build. This is a crucial part of the process before the Quarterhorse Mk 1 is cleared to fly.

Based in Atlanta, Hermeus — like its contemporaries — intends to make hypersonic air travel a reality. Currently, they are looking at a target speed of Mach 5.5, which is about 4,129 mph. Powering the Quarterhorse Mk 1 is a General Electric J85 turbojet engine.

Surprisingly, Hermeus reveals the next version of its faster-than-sound flight program will drop the current propulsion system for the F100 by Pratt & Whitney. Already dubbed the Quarterhorse Mk 2, its goal is to reach Mach 3 in 2025.

“Each aircraft in the Quarterhorse program progressively increases in complexity, building on the learnings of prior builds. This approach manages program risk across multiple vehicles and accelerates delivery of products and services to Hermeus customers,” reads the press release.

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Images courtesy Hermeus