Darpa is poised to accept bids for its radical Vulcan program, which aims to demonstrate a new type of engine that could power a hypersonic vehicle to Mach 4-plus. “This would change aviation. It’s a fundamental enabler for high-speed flight,” says Thomas Bussing, Vulcan program manager for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Vulcan will integrate constant-volume combustion (CVC)—which is used in pulsed-detonation or continuous-detonation engines—with a full-scale turbine ...

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