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Hermeus Unveils Jet-Powered Quarterhorse Mk1 Drone

Hermeus has unveiled a jet-powered, remotely-piloted aircraft capable of performing high-speed takeoffs and landings.

Called the Quarterhorse Mk1, the drone features a GE J85 engine also used on Northrop Grumman’s F-5 supersonic fighter and T-38 Talon jet trainer.

It can reportedly be designed and built in just seven months, allowing the American firm to achieve its “one aircraft per year” goal.

The new unmanned system is expected to have its first flight test later this year at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

However, Hermeus plans to conduct a series of tests to assess the drone’s subsystems and ground station before the flight tests.

“As we begin the journey to first flight, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the aircraft’s performance while simultaneously examining the effectiveness of our test procedures, safety culture, and interdisciplinary team collaboration,” company vice president Don Kaderbek said.

The company has not yet disclosed details of the Quarterhorse Mk1, such as operational speed, range, and flight endurance.

Quarterhorse Mk2
Artist’s rendering of the Quarterhorse Mk2 drone. Photo: Hermeus

Quarterhorse Mk2

Once testing of the drone is complete, Hermeus will immediately design the Quarterhorse Mk2 iteration, which will be able to fly at supersonic speeds.

It will be equipped with the Pratt & Whitney F100 engine, the same propulsion system used by the US Air Force’s F-15 and F-16 jets.

Company co-founder Skyler Shuford said they aim to get the upgraded capability into the hands of customers soon, so they are moving at an accelerated pace.

“By breaking free of rigid, multi-year development timelines, we are enabled to build the right aircraft for this moment and get that aircraft in the air in less than a year,” he said.

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