The Future of Supersonic Jets

If current research makes headway, viable supersonic technology may be in our near future.

NASA and project partners, including Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have explored ideas for quiet supersonic flight that would use a host of boom-mitigation technologies, including long, pointed noses and specially shaped fuselages.
The idea behind the telescoping noses now under development for future supersonic jets is their ability to break up an airplane’s shock waves. Flying at high altitudes, these smaller shock waves would dissipate by the time they reached the ground, creating more of a “whisper” sound than a sonic boom, experts say.
For many years, Aerion of Reno, Nevada, has studied natural laminar flow technologies that the company says would allow its supersonic business jet to reach Mach 1.6 using a pair of modified Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines.
Because of the performance gains, Aerion foresees its 12-passenger SSBJ being powered to Mach 1.6 by a pair of off-the-shelf Pratt & Whitney JT8D turbofans, the same engines that have powered commercial airliners, including the Boeing 727 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-9.
Read more about the future of supersonic technology here.
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