What would an inlet look like on a hypersonic aircraft? Would it be rectangular or like a cone (assymetric). Would it move and if so how?

  • $\begingroup$ If your aircraft is made to fly at only one speed (like the X-43) there is no need to have a variable inlet. Optimizing it for only one speed is enough. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Aug 19, 2020 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ I dont undertsand. Wouldnt you need a movable inlet to compensate for the shockwave changing position $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2020 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ If your speed don't change, the shockwave position won't change. For example, the X-51 is not design to fly slower than mach 4.5 nor faster than mach 5.1. This speed range is really narrow, thus no need to design an inlet efficient from full stop to high hypersonic speed. $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Aug 19, 2020 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ But doesnt the speed change as you speed up from 0 to your normal speed? $\endgroup$ Aug 19, 2020 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ @LukeJustin, you can't use the same engine across that range anyway. Turbines are useless above around M3, ramjets start at maybe M0.5, are efficient above M2 or so and top at M6 and scramjets start above M3 and only become efficient above M6 or so. Much more reconfiguration than just the inlet. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 19, 2020 at 20:51


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