Next generation supersonic passenger flights are closer than many might think. There could be a supersonic Air Force One prototype airplane as early as 2025, with the US Air Force getting busy awarding development contracts.
California start-up Exosonic is working on a “low-boom” supersonic Mach 1.8 twin jet which has caught the eye of the US Air Force’s Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate (PE).
It was announced last month that Exosonic has been issued a contract to develop supersonic executive transport that could be used as Air Force One.
The Exosonic’s 70-seater boasts a 5,000-nautical-mile range and, thanks to boom-softening techniques, it should be able to fly overland at almost twice the speed of sound without upsetting residents down below.
In a statement, Norris Tie, Exosonic’s Chief Executive, said: “The future for global rapid passenger travel is low-boom supersonic flight. Low boom allows travellers to fly at supersonic speeds without generating disruptive booms for those on the ground.”
Tie says the company expects its supersonic plane to be flying by the mid-2030s.
Mach 1.8 is reported to be around 2,222 kilometres an hour, so Exosonic’s craft promises to halve cruise times compared to existing aircraft.
Exosonic says it will be working with the US Air Force to modify the aircraft cabin so it has the necessary communications equipment security measures, and the fittings that will allow US leaders and their guests to work and rest on board.