Next Air Force One Could Go Supersonic

Supersonic aircraft being developed by Exosonic, a US start-up. Source: Exosonic

US presidential airplane, the Air Force One could soon be a low boom supersonic aircraft that would “allow key decision makers and teams to travel around the world in half the time it takes now,” the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate announced on Twitter.

The Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate manages US government executive transport aircraft, such as the VC-25A, a heavily-modified Boeing 747-200B that is popularly known by its call sign “Air Force One” when the president of the USA flies aboard.

Aviation website flightglobal.com reported that start-up Exosonic recently won a US Air Force (USAF) contract to develop a low-boom supersonic executive transport that could serve as a future “Air Force One”.

On its own website, Exosonic describes itself as a company building a quiet, Mach 1.8, 70-seater supersonic passenger aircraft that can fly supersonically overland and over water with a muted sonic boom.

Exosonic has partnered with Y Combinator, and US Air Force and the Air Force Reserve Command –  AFWERZ, a United States Air Force programme with the goal of fostering a culture of innovation within the service.

The US Air Force’s Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate said on August 31, 2020 that the company has a contract for an undisclosed amount to develop the aircraft. The US Air Force Research Laboratory is also involved in issuing the contract, according to a tweet from Exosonic.

At supersonic speeds, this aircraft is expected to perform without the window-shattering noise of a sonic boom by using technology similar to NASA’s X-59 Quiet Supersonic Research Aircraft. Such technology is expected to reduce sonic booms heard on the ground to a dampened thump, if any of the noise is heard at all.

Flightglobal.com said Exosonic’s co-founder and chief executive Norris Tie previously worked at Lockheed Martin as an aeronautical engineer, where he worked on the ‘aerodynamics and propulsion testing’ of the X-59, among other responsibilities.

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