Airbus Industries have filed a US patent, identified as an "ultra rapid air vehicle", for a hypersonic jet they claim would travel at four-and-a-half times the speed of sound.
The plans suggest the new aircraft would be fired vertically by rocket engines to supersonic speeds and then hydrogen-powered wing mounted ramjets would ignite and take the rocket jet plane to its destination travelling at speeds of up to Mach 4.5 (3,400 mph), according to a patent application with the US Patent Office by the aerospace and defence group.
To put it into perspective, the speeds suggested make this aircraft roughly two-and-a-half times faster at cruising speed than Concorde, fastest flight between the Big Apple and London was two hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds. I watched it as it flew over my then London apartment in Putney returning to Heathrow in the evening, you could set your watch by it!
The drawings supporting the application look as if they've been drawn by a schoolboy designing his first paper dart however Airbus claims the new plane's shape and vertical flight would dramatically reduce the possibility of sonic booms that travelling at high speed creates and experienced by Concorde..
Cruising at an altitude of more than 100,000ft with just 20 passengers or a cargo payload of some 3 tons, for distances of around 5,500 miles.
'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. If successful It would allow passengers to make a return journey in a day.
Airbus thinks the jet would be able to complete trips such as Tokyo to Los Angeles in just three hours - a journey that currently takes 11 hours 30 minutes. Three different types of power is employed. different forms of hydrogen, combined propel the plane. Two turbo ram jets allow the aircraft to climb vertically on take-off before retracting into the fuselage just before it reaches the speed of
A rocket motor would then take it to its cruising altitude as the wing-mounted ramjets push the jet to its final speed.
Airbus, based in France, say the hypersonic jet could also be ideal for military applications, working to transport troops at rapid speeds
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