Air Travel

Future tech

Proposed Airbus hypersonic jet could fly from London to New York in one hour

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 August, 2015, 11:09am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 August, 2015, 1:34pm

European aircraft maker Airbus has filed a patent for a hypersonic jet capable of flying four and a half times faster than the speed of sound.

According to Business Insider, Airbus filed an application last month to patent an "ultra-rapid air vehicle and related method of aerial locomotion".

The proposed jet could fly from London to New York in an hour, three times faster than Concord, the retired supersonic jet built by Airbus's predecessors – France's Aerospatiale and British Aerospace.

A flight from London to New York takes a conventional airliner seven to eight hours.

Airbus predicted the proposed craft will also be able to complete trips like Paris to San Francisco or Tokyo to Los Angeles in just three hours.

The hydrogen-powered aircraft had “a gothic delta wing positioned either side of the fuselage,” the patent said.

Three different types of engines would power the jet to its cruising speed of more than 4800 kilometres per hour.

A pair of turbojets would get the plane get off the ground. After leaving the runway, it would climb vertically like the Space Shuttle with an extra boost from rocket engines.

The turbo engines would shut down at some point and retract into the belly of plane. The rocket motor would take the plane up to an altitude of more than 30,500 metres.

The rocket motor would then shut down and retract into the fuselage. A pair of wing-mounted ramjets would kick into service and propel the plane to a top speed of Mach 4.5.

The plane’s aerodynamics could reduce sonic boom, according to Airbus. The Concorde was prevented from operating over land due to complaints over sonic booms and noise pollution.

A total 14 Concordes were produced between 1976 and 2003, all of which flew across the Atlantic.

The proposed Airbus jet has room for 20 passengers. It could serve as a military transport for commandos or as a reconnaissance plane like the SR71 Blackbird.

The Airbus has also proposed a variant armed with high-power electromagnetic pulse weapons to conduct precision strikes on high-value targets.

As with the majority of patented ideas, it’s unlikely the jet will ever enter production, according to Business Insider. But technology derived from the hypersonic plane could make its way into Airbus’s other projects.