This paper presents the results of a fundamental, comprehensive, and rigorous analytical and computational examination of the performance of the Brayton propulsion and power cycle employing real air as the working fluid. This approach capitalizes on the benefits inherent in closed cycle thermodynamic reasoning and the behavior of the thermally perfect gas to facilitate analysis. The analysis uses a high fidelity correlation to represent the specific heat at constant pressure of air as a function of temperature and the polytropic efficiency to evaluate the overall efficiency of the adiabatic compression and expansion processes. The analytical results are algebraic, transparent, and easily manipulated, and the computational results present a useful guidance for designers and users. The operating range of design parameters considered covers any current and foreseeable application. The results include some important comparisons with more simplified conventional analyses.

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