RAF officer's Bloodhound supersonic car unveiled

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The attempt to beat the land speed record by an RAF officer is a step closer with the design team unveiling a life size model of the rocket-powered car which will be used in the attempt.

Backed by the RAF, Wing Commander Andy Green will pilot the supersonic Bloodhound when it makes its historic record-breaking bid in 2012.

The life size model of the rocket-powered car was unveiled this month at the Farnborough International Airshow.

Wing Commander Green has been the driving force behind the ambitious project and will be hoping to smash the 770mph (1,240km/h) record he set in the Thrust supersonic car, driving across a dry lake bed in South Africa.

The 12.8-metre replica of the Bloodhound is the result of three years of aerodynamic study. At its theoretical top speed of 1,050mph (1,690km/h), Bloodhound will be faster than any military fast jet at sea level, including the Eurofighter and the awesome United States Air Force Raptor, and faster than a speeding bullet.

A working version of the car is hoped to be completed at the end of next year, with the record-breaking attempt made in South Africa in two years’ time.

The Bloodhound team, which includes Richard Noble and chief aerodynamicist Ron Ayres, also announced that UK aerospace company Hampson Industries will have built the rear end of the chassis by the beginning of next year.

Wing Commander Green said:

It is just amazing. This is the first time that a full scale model of the final shape has been seen.

“Hampson’s have agreed to build half the chassis that they will deliver early next year which gives us a timeline. It forces us to work to their timeline and finish all the detailed design and stressing work.”

Wing Commander Green, who has previously flown Jaguar, Tornado F3 and Harrier aircraft, also announced that the team had unveiled a 30-page technical specification of data regarding the car.

He said:

The data shows everything you need to build a supersonic car. In DNA terms this data is the genome of Bloodhound.

No competitive team in history has ever released this detail into the public domain.

“You don’t release such detail on a Typhoon or an F1 car as you don’t want others to know about it, but we are not in that situation. The primary aim of the Bloodhound project is to get children excited about engineering.”

The Bloodhound record attempt will be made on a dried-up lake bed known as the Hakskeen Pan, in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.

Wing Commander Green said:

The South Africans start preparation on the track this month. They then have two seasons of summer rains to let the track recover and make it perfect for us.

The cost of the Bloodhound project is expected to be around £10m and £3m still needs to be raised.

Research and design and the rocket-testing alone will cost £3m, and the building of the car is expected to cost around another £3m.

This article first appeared in RAF News - the newspaper of the Royal Air Force.