Airbus patents hypersonic jet that could fly four and a half times the speed of soundBy Rob Thubron 24 comments
European aerospace manufacturer Airbus has secured a new patent for an "ultra-rapid air vehicle" that the company says could travel over four and a half times faster than the speed of sound. This would allow the jet to travel from London to New York in just one hour instead of the 7 to 8 hours it takes a conventional airliner to cross the Atlantic.
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 uses three hydrogen-powered engines that work in sequential order to allow the vehicle to reach speeds of 3425 mph.
The craft will use two turbojets mounted under the fuselage to get off the ground. As it lifts off the runway, the jet will climb vertically until it nears the speed of sound. At this point, the turbojets will shut down and retract into the fuselage, leaving the rocket motor to take it up to an altitude of 100,000 feet. Once the Airbus reaches its cruising altitude, the rocket motor will shut down and retract into the plane. The wing-mounted ramjets would then take control to push the jet to its final speed of Mach 4.5.
Airbus says it has designed the craft's aerodynamics to limit sonic boom and noise pollution. The now retired Mach 2 Concorde was prevented from operating over land due to complaints over sonic booms. Even at subsonic speeds, Concorde was much louder than other planes.
Airbus believes the jet could have military applications, allowing soldiers, equipment or weaponry to be transported great distances at speeds not possible using today's aircraft. The company has also proposed a variant armed with high-power electromagnetic pulse weapons to conduct precision strikes on high-value targets.
The number of passengers on the aircraft will be limited to 20, meaning tickets for commercial flights are likely to be very expensive. "In the case of civil applications, the market envisaged is principally that of business travel and VIP passengers, who require transcontinental return journeys within one day," the patent states.
Deepak Gupta, owner of PatentYogi, explained that the new Airbus could make it possible to complete trips like Paris to San Francisco or Tokyo to Los Angeles in just three hours. For more information from Patent Yogi regarding the jet, see the video below.