WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced that the first phase of the Vulcan engine-system development program is under way.
DARPA selected defense contractors Alliant Techsystems, General Electric, Rolls-Royce and United Technologies to support the eight-month development phase for the Vulcan program.
Officials said the next-generation Vulcan propulsion technology is being developed to enable an acceleration of a full-scale hypersonic vehicle from a resting status to Mach 4 speeds. The advanced propulsion system will support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, among others.
According to a news release, the four contractors will "develop systems requirements and a conceptual design for a constant volume combustion demonstration system and develop a critical technology development plan to reduce risk on all key aspects of the Vulcan engine."