Supersonic business jet

A supersonic business jet (SSBJ) is a business jet travelling above the speed of sound: a supersonic aircraft. Some manufacturers are designing or have been designing SSBJs, but none are currently available. Usually intended to transport about ten passengers, proposed SSBJs would be about the same size as subsonic business jets.

Aerion SBJ project model

Only two commercial supersonic transports entered service: the Aérospatiale/British Aerospace Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. Both were designed with government subsidies and did not recoup development costs. They had high operating costs and high noise.

Some manufacturers believe these concerns can be addressed at a smaller scale, offering high speed transport for small groups of high-value passengers, executives or heads of state. Current proposals include SAI Quiet Supersonic Transport and Spike S-512. Former proposals include the Aerion SBJ, Aerion AS2, HyperMach SonicStar, Sukhoi-Gulfstream S-21 and Tupolev Tu-444. Several companies, including Gulfstream Aerospace, work on sonic booms-mitigation technologies like the Quiet Spike.

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In 1997, Dassault Aviation was considering a Mach 1.8 supersonic business jet powered by three non-afterburning engines derived from subsonic aircraft, with a cabin similar to the Falcon 50, capable of flying between Paris and New York.[1] With a 40 t (88,000 lb) MTOW and over 20 t (44,000 lb) of fuel, it would cover a range of 7,200 km (4,500 nmi).[2] In September 2004, the European Commission selected the HISAC High Speed Aircraft program, launched with Dassault in 2005 and evaluating the feasibility of a small supersonic aircraft.[3] By 2019, Dassault was reserved about the prospects for a supersonic business jet.[4]

In January 2018, Vladimir Putin proposed a civil SSBJ variant of the Tu-160 bomber, for a potential market of 20-30 units in Russia alone at $100–120 million each. UAC previously studied a SSBJ, displaying a scale model at MAKS Air Show 2017, to be designed and built in seven years with an existing engine like the NK-32 and a titanium airframe, a limited production would be worth an expected $150 million price.[5]

In August 2020, Virgin Galactic announced the design of a high speed delta wing aircraft for 9 to 19 people, targeting Mach 3 above 60,000 ft (18,000 m), in partnership with Rolls-Royce plc for its propulsion.[6]

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References edit

  1. ^ "Dassault Aviation plans supersonic business jet". Flight International. 1 October 1997.
  2. ^ "Dassault tests viability of supersonic business jet". Flightglobal. 27 February 1998.
  3. ^ "Research and the future". Dassault Aviation. 2020.
  4. ^ Mark Phelps (October 21, 2019). "Dassault Plots Future Models with 'Smart Design'". AIN online.
  5. ^ Vladimir Karnozov (January 30, 2018). "Russia Flirts with SSBJ Version of Tu-160 Bomber". AINonline.
  6. ^ "Virgin Galactic Unveils Mach 3 Aircraft Design for High Speed Travel, and Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Rolls-Royce" (Press release). Virgin Galactic. Aug 3, 2020.

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