The unmanned U.S. X-51A Waverider aircraft that was designed to fly six times the speed of sound broke apart 16 seconds into its test flight above the Pacific Ocean owing to faulty control fin, the U.S. Air Force said Wednesday.
The problem occurred when the X-51A was separated from the rocket booster and lost control owing to "faulty control fin," the Air Force stated in a statement.
Apparently, the X-51A flight fell far short of the five minutes military goal, Reuters reported.
The aircraft fell into the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu northwest of Los Angeles, said Daryl Mayer, spokesman of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
Even if the maiden test flight had been successful, the aircraft would not have been retrievable as it would have crashed at the end of the flight, Reuters noted.
Reportedly, the speed of the Waverider was fast enough to travel from New York to London in less than an hour. Analysts told Reuters that Waverider program was favored to develop missiles with non-nuclear explosives that could strike anywhere in the world within an hour.
Boeing Co's Phantom Works division designed and assembled the aircraft.
The Pentagon is testing hypersonic technologies in hope of delivering strikes within minutes across the globe, The Gazette reported.
Similar experiments conducted in 2011 ended prematurely with the X-51A trying to restart engine before it plunged into the Pacific Ocean, The Gazette added.
The experiments conducted in 2010 appeared to be more successful as the aircraft reportedly reached five times the speed of sound in three minutes.