Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire, and written by Joseph Curl.
Air Force One, a heavily modified Boeing 747-200B series aircraft (the standard ones don't come with air-to-air missiles), can reach a top speed of .84 mach, equal to about 645 mph.
But the Pentagon wants the plane to go faster — a lot faster.
The U.S. Air Force has awarded a contract to the Exosonic so the aviation firm can begin designing a presidential aircraft that can travel at supersonic speeds — above Mach 1, or 767 mph. "The research award, reportedly worth $1 million, will fund work to 'modify' Exosonic's existing plans for a supersonic commercial plane into a proposal for a presidential-grade aircraft,"
the Washington Times reports
Exosonic will "develop a low-boom supersonic executive transport aircraft that will allow key decision makers and teams to travel around the world in half the time it takes now!"
said a Twitter post last week from the Air Force's Life Cycle Management Center.
The aviation firm will focus on "reconfiguring the aircraft cabin to include the required accommodations, communications equipment, and security measures that allow US leaders and their guests to work and rest onboard the aircraft."
"The future for global rapid passenger travel is low-boom supersonic flight. Low boom allows travelers to fly at supersonic speeds without generating disruptive booms for those on the ground,"
Exosonic CEO Norris Tie said in a press release announcing the contract. "Exosonic is excited to win this contract as it represents not only commercial but government promise for low-boom supersonic travel."
Once upon a time, there was a plane that could fly twice the speed of sound, 1,354 mph. But that plane, the Concorde, has been decommissioned for nearly two decades. Since then, no aircraft builder has built a supersonic jet to take its place.
Other aviation companies are returning to the quest. A new plane called Boom Overture — which can fly even faster than the speed of sound: Mach 2.2, or 1,688 mph — is moving through phases of development and a test version known as Baby Boom XB-1 will soon take its debut flight.
Boom Technology in July announced that Overture's demonstrator, the XB-1, will be rolled out in October and then be tested in flight at California's Mojave Air and Space Port in 2021. The tests will hopefully ready Overture for flights by the mid-2020s. XB-1, using carbon-fiber construction, will be one-third scale of Overture and will be powered by triple GE Aviation J85-15 engines.
The XB-1 won't carry passengers. In fact, it only has room for one pilot. But if successful, the company will move forward with the development of Boom Overture, a passenger jet that can carry 55 to 75 passengers.
"Join us here on October 7, 2020, to witness the historic rollout of Boom's XB-1. As the world's first independently developed supersonic jet, XB-1 is paving the way for the return of supersonic travel,"
Boom Technology said in a statement.
"Welcome supersonic technology back to the world. Combining advanced aerodynamic design, carbon composite material, and high-efficiency propulsion, XB-1 demonstrates the key technologies for safe, efficient, and sustainable supersonic flight. The completion of XB-1's assembly marks a turning point in commercial viability for supersonic travel. XB-1 leads the way for Overture development, by providing continual learnings for the program."