The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last month approved Airbus’ ‘ultra-rapid air vehicle and related method of aerial locomotion’ patent for a hypersonic aircraft that will be able to travel at 4.5 times the speed of sound, more than twice the speed of the Concorde.
The French aircraft manufacturer filed the patent four years ago for the unique aircraft, which is set to feature three different engine types.
The aircraft will be powered by two turbo jets allowing it to reach the speed of sound before a rocket engine lifts the aircraft to an altitude of more than 100,000ft. Upon achieving the operating altitude, two wing-mounted ramjets will provide acceleration up to Mach 4.5 (5,512km/h).
The patented aircraft’s two turbo jets will allow vertical takeoff, a feat not achievable for the Concorde. The vertical ascent is said to reduce the noise resulting from the sonic boom. The Concorde also used turbojet engines but took flight using a conventional takeoff method.
The Concorde took approximately 3.5 hours to fly from London to New York, with the new Airbus jet set to reduce that time significantly. This is a milestone improvement on the 7.5 hours that it takes to travel using conventional passenger airplanes. The Concorde was in use within the commercial aviation industry between 1976 and 2003, leaving more than decade without supersonic air travel.
The Airbus hypersonic jet is also expected to complete flights from Paris to Tokyo and Tokyo to Los Angeles in three hours, according to the company’s patent. The jet is set to carry up to 20 passengers and could be used for both commercial and military travel.
Although the aviation industry has faced similar travel times for decades, the Airbus patent paves the way for the next generation of much faster travel.
With one eye towards the future and one eye on the present, Airbus also recently registered a patent for a larger version of its A380 jumbo.
Private supersonic travel not unheard of before Airbus patent
Earlier this year, The Manufacturer reported on the Aerion AS2 supersonic aircraft which is set to become the world’s first supersonic business jet and will be available by 2021.
Aerion, a Nevada-based company is set to offer the AS2 jet, capable of Mach 1.5 (1,836km/h), for $120m, subject to inflation.
A spate of other private supersonic jets have been considered over the past decade, but none as advanced as the Airbus patent.