DARPA has an agreement with Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop and ground test a hypersonic advanced full range engine under the agency’s Advanced Full Range Engine (AFRE) program.

They will conduct a full system-level Turbine Based Combined Cycle (TBCC) ground test demonstration. It is one engine which will be capable of operating at subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic speeds would enable us to build future generations of high-speed military aircraft to ensure air dominance. One engine at all speeds means it could take off and go to hypersonic speeds without being carried to that speed in another rocket or a plane.

The primary goal of the AFRE program is to develop and ground demonstrate a reusable hydrocarbon propulsion system that can seamlessly operate in a reliable and affordable manner over the full range of speeds between takeoff and hypersonic cruise to enable responsive hypersonic aircraft for a variety of military missions.