Airbus Patent Reveals a New Jet Capable of Over 3,000 MPH
Imagine hopping on a plane in Paris and arriving in San Francisco three hours later. That unbelievably quick flight may sound like crazy talk, but according to the latest airplane design patent from Airbus, it could be entirely possible. On July 14, the United States Patent and Trademark Office approved an Airbus patent for an all-new “ultra-rapid air vehicle” design, which features a sleek delta wing shape and three different propulsion methods powered by tanks full of liquid hydrogen and oxygen. Airbus estimates this jet could cruise at an altitude of between 100,000 and 115,000 feet, and reach top speeds in the region of Mach 4 (over 3,000 miles per hour) and perhaps even as fast as Mach 4.5. For reference, the legendary Concorde supersonic jet could only reach Mach 2. RELATED: The Stratolaunch Will Soon Be the Largest Airplane in the World
Building such a supersonic jet is not a simple endeavor. The Airbus design incorporates the sequential use of three separate types of engines–turbojets, ramjets, and one rocket motor positioned in the rear of the fuselage.
During takeoff, the fuselage-mounted turbojets and rear rocket motor are used to quickly blast the Airbus up to speeds of Mach 1, and at an aggressive near-vertical incline. Once proper speed and elevation is achieved, the turbojets are then retracted into the fuselage of the aircraft. Then upon proper level flight, the rocket motor is disengaged, closed off from the exterior (item "D" in Figure 13), and the wing-mounted ramjets take over.
The Airbus design’s aggressive takeoff and landing angles, as well as physical aerodynamics, are said to lessen the effects of any sonic booms felt on the ground, which are caused when aircraft—like the Concorde—reach supersonic speeds.
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In the patent, Airbus considers that the plane could be used to carry about two to three tons of cargo, or about 20 passengers, and be used in both civilian and military applications. For civilians, this would offer VIPs the ability to hop back and forth across oceans in the span of an afternoon, while the military applications could permit the high-speed transport of strategic goods, commandos, or allow for supersonic precision strike capabilities.
Production of such a jet would likely span many, many years of development, so don’t expect one of these supersonic planes at your local airport any time soon.
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