(illustration: NASA has signed a $247.5 million contract with Lockheed Martin to develop a quiet supersonic aircraft based on its Low Boom Flight Demonstrator prototype.)
NASA, which is in charge of the X pilot program, announced a few days ago that it would build a supersonic airliner.It signed a $247.5 million contract with Lockheed Martin to develop a supersonic airliner.It is easy for an aircraft to break through the sound barrier under the current technological conditions, but the real challenge lies in how to avoid the deafening sonic boom in supersonic flight, which is also the key problem to be solved for supersonic airliner.Now, flying faster than sound is an easy part.The real trick is not to produce a tympanic burst, a key obstacle to restoring civilian supersonic flight.
The famous senior Concorde supersonic passenger aircraft entered service in 1976. However, the sonic boom produced by this type of aircraft was so large that the regulator prohibited other supersonic flights over the United States and Europe. In the end, Concorde aircraft can only fly a limited number of transatlantic routes, and the financial difficulties make it retire in 2003. The industry’s thinking is that a quieter airplane may be able to break these restrictions and provide more flights for high-end business people from New York to Los Angeles, and even from San Francisco to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Jaiwon Shin, Head of Aeronautical Research at NASA, said: “This X-type experimental aircraft is a crucial step towards an exciting future. In the future, people will enjoy super-sonic flights at reasonable prices and very quiet, and in 2018, 4 The 3rd of the month is the day when everything starts."
Lockheed Martin's mission is to build a one-off, manned prototype of the Low Boom Flight Demonstrator prototype that it has developed for years.NASA will apply to the US Air Force in the coming months, but the logical guess is the X-58.This is the first generation of manned X-type experimental aircraft after a series of remote control prototypes.
Lockheed Martin's Low Boom Flight Demonstrator prototype shows the nose and rear wing of a Concorde supersonic aircraft.The entire plane looks like a missile with small wings that minimizes the pressure waves generated by the aircraft in supersonic flight-which is the source of all the noise.The aircraft is designed to run at 940 mph and cruise at about 55000 feet, well above the 35000 feet of a subsonic airliner.Lockheed Martin said that compared to the huge sonic boom generated by the Concorde, people on the ground as the plane passed at supersonic speeds sounded like doors closed.The plane was powered by a GE F414 engine, the same engine used in the F/A-18.The cockpit design of the aircraft will be the same as the back seat in the T-38 jet trainer.
"the supersonic manned X experimental plane-this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me," said NASA test pilot Jim Less.He used to test flights at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center. "We're all excited about that."
Plan X, of course, will take a long time to really get to market.Although NASA hopes the technology will eventually be used for civilian use, the prototype is only 96 feet long and can accommodate only one pilot."this aircraft is similar to the Bell X1 or X15 and is a specially designed experimental research aircraft," said David Richardson, director of aircraft design and technology at Lockheed Martin.
If Lockheed Martin completes its plan, NASA hopes to test it in 2021.Lockheed Martin has now tested the scale model in the wind tunnel.It will first run within test ranges to ensure safety, and then in 2022 will begin flying over certain cities in the United States, while testing noise levels on the ground to investigate public reactions.If all goes according to plan, the public will not be disturbed-eventually the plane will become a reality.