Concorde's supersonic successors are determine to carve a path to commercial success – and one of the challenges is to overcome the 'sonic boom' which rolls in the jet's wake once it exceeds Mach 1 and causes even louder complaints from those living under the flight path.
That goal is now within reach, with noise reduction technologies now softening the boom to a 'puff or plop' says an engineer associated with Gulfstream's X-54 supersonic challenger, which will "prove that an aircraft can be shaped for low sonic boom".
The X-54 will be "sketched out" at Farnborough along with other supersonic prototypes from Boeing and Lockheed Martin, according to The Sunday Times, although these will initially be aimed at the business jet market rather than large-scale public aircraft.
NASA is also working up its own supersonic concepts, such as the AMELIA (Advanced Model for Extreme Lift and Improved Aeroacoustics), which uses superthin wings and hidden engines to muffle the boom.
"Lighter composite materials, more advanced engines and smaller fuselages could enable new jets to travel about twice as fast as Concorde, which flew at up to 2187 km/h" says The Sunday Times.
"The jets will carry passengers at speeds in excess of 4000 km/h, allowing them to cruise in luxury from London to Sydney, just over 16,000km away" in four hours.
We get the feeling that four hours for the Kangaroo Route is the new four minute mile, because that same four hour trip is the target of Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic sub-orbital shuttle (shown above).
After lunch at the airport lounge, passengers would to step onto a plane in Sydney at 3pm and, allowing for the time zone shift, arrive in London four hours later at 6am, ready for breakfast and a full day of meetings.