This is the REVOLVER system that turns the C-17 military transport aircraft into an X-51A hypersonic missile launcher

Boeing has presented a surprising advance in military aviation that turns the huge strategic transport aircraft C-17 Globemaster III in a launcher X-51A Waverider hypersonic missiles. The C-17 is the second largest military aircraft of the United States Air Force and is designed to Rapid deployment and transportation of troops, equipment and supplies. It stands out for its load capacity, range and versatility in transport, medical evacuation and air deployment missions, but it is an aircraft that does not have offensive weapons. This capacity will be gained with the system STIR.

REVOLVER is a launcher that is installed inside the aircraft and is made up by two sequentially installed magazines, with capacity for 12 X-51A Waverider missiles, and an electromagnetic catapult mechanism.

To fire them, the C-17’s loading ramp is opened and the missiles are catapulted out of the aircraft in the opposite directionMoments after launch, the X-51A fires its engines to head toward the target. Boeing has released images and videos with 3D recreations that show the potential of this system, according to the media Army Recognition.

The C-17 Globemaster III, manufactured by Boeing and McDonnell Douglas and in service since 1993, it is the largest aircraft in the US fleet after the C-5M Super Galaxyanother military transport aircraft, in this case of Lockheed Martin.

Nicknamed the Buddha for its appearance, it is capable of carrying 102 paratroopers, 54 medical patients or 85 tons of cargo, including tanks. It operates with a crew of three and can fly directly from the U.S. to virtually any destination with mid-air refueling. Without refueling, its range is 4,450 km.

C-17 and X-51A. CruzThe reason

The C-17 ceased production in 2015 after the manufacture of 279 unitsThe majority of them, 220, are part of the United States Army, and the rest are distributed among those of the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The future integration of the REVOLVER system and the X-51A Waverider on the C-17 platform will allow the aircraft launch multiple hypersonic missiles in rapid succession and swift, decisive action in critical scenarios that provides the United States with a significant advantage in modern warfare.

X-51A under the wing of a B-52.
X-51A under the wing of a B-52.Chad Bellay.US Air Force.

The X-51A Waverider to be deployed by the C-17 is a hypersonic cruise missile that uses a swashplate-type engine. scramjet to reach speeds higher than Mach 5above the 6,000 km/hmaking it difficult to detect and intercept. It also maneuvers and changes altitude, evading current anti-missile defense systems. The missile is designed for missions of Fast and precise attack, being able to reach targets at long distances in a very short time.