Airbus says the aircraft could reach speeds as high as Mach 4.5. That's four and a half times the speed of sound.
August 6, 2015
by PLANT Staff
In July, Airbus received approval from the US Patent and Trademark Office to develop an “ultra-rapid air vehicle and related method of aerial locomotion.”
In layman’s terms: Airbus is trying to build a supersonic jet, which the French aerospace manufacturer says could reach speeds as high as Mach 4.5. That’s four and a half times the speed of sound.
PatentYogi’s Deepak Gupta, in a recent YouTube video, suggests this means the new jet could fly between London and New York in about an hour. That’s three and a half times faster than the now retired Mach 2 Concorde jet that made the same trip and about six times faster than the average commercial jet.
The patent describes the craft as “an air vehicle including a fuselage, a gothic delta wing distributed on either side of the fuselage, and a system of motors able to propel the air vehicle.”
The jet would be powered by three different types of engines that work in sequential order for take off, into cruising altitude, and then up to its cruising speed of more than 3,000 mph.
For take off, the jet would use two turbojets mounted under the fuselage as well as a rocket motor mounted in the rear. As it lifts off the runway, it would climb vertically, like a space shuttle. Just before reaching the speed of sound, the turbojets shut down and retract into the belly of the plane to allow a rocket motor to guide it to an altitude of more than 100,000 feet.
Once it hits cruising altitude, the rocket motor shuts down and retracts into the fuselage. Then the plane’s pair of wing-mounted ramjets take over and propel the aircraft to a top speed of Mach 4.5.
Airbus said the aircraft would be powered by various forms of hydrogen stored aboard the craft. The plane’s aerodynamics would limit and reduce the sonic boom it will create when it reaches supersonic speed.
In the 1970s, the Concorde was beset by complaints of sonic booms and noise pollution created by its four Rolls-Royce Olympus turbojet engines. It was prevented from operating over land, and as a result, the supersonic airliner never became financially viable for mainstream passenger transport. Instead, the 14 production Concordes spent their 27-year career shuttling well-heeled VIPs across the Atlantic.
Airbus told BusinessInsider.com that it believes the hypersonic jet could have both civilian and military applications. The craft could serve as private jet or as an airliner with room for 20 passengers. In military trim, the jet could serve as a hypersonic transport for commandos or as a reconnaissance plane like the SR71 Blackbird.
The company has also proposed a variant armed with high-power electromagnetic pulse weapons to conduct precision strikes on high-value targets.
While it’s unlikely the jet will ever enter production, technologies derived from the hypersonic plane could make their way into the company’s more conventional products in the future.
Check out the video below from YouTuber Deepak Gupta for a more in-dept explanation of this awesome development.