Major hurdles in the path to successful aircraft-like operation include producing sufficient thrust to punch through the high drag encountered at transonic speeds around Mach 1. Even if this can be overcome, designers also face a “thrust gap” between around Mach 2.5, where current turbine engine power falls off, and Mach 3.5-4, where the transition to a dual-mode ramjet/scramjet takes place. To date, all attempts to develop a viable high-speed turbine engine to bridge this gap have failed.
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