The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is interested in learning more about British space plane engine technology that could be used for future U.S. military hypersonic aircraft. The Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine (SABRE) is being developed by England-based Reaction Engines for the Skylon space plane.
The engine was supported by $100 million in funding from the British government and European Space Agency (ESA), with private financing matching the same figure - and millions more are expected to be invested into the program. Reaction Engines has had the next-generation engine in development for more than two decades, ensuring SABRE features both rocket and air-breathing modes.
"AFRL is formulating plans to look at advanced vehicle concepts based on Reaction Engine's heat-exchanger technology and SABRE engine concept," said AFRL officials, in a statement recently sent to Space.com.
European companies are expected to supply rocket engine components, with two SABRE engines scheduled for testing in the first-half of 2019.