A US patent application (20090078819) submitted by Airbus on 26 March defines a clever method of installing a turbojet engine into the tail section of a supersonic aircraft, one with an engine in the tail and two underneath the wings.
Hmmmm. Where have we seen a design like that before?
Could it be that Airbus is helping out with Dassault's supersonic business jet (SSBJ) program? Dassault last year had told Flight that it would complete the first phase of a high-speed aircraft program study by mid-year, an effort shared by more than a dozen partners. Design goals at the time included a M1.8 trans-Atlantic 16-passenger aircraft that would have environmentally friendly features.
In the new patent application, Airbus reveals an integral tail-mounted turbojet engine to which the tail control surfaces directly attach, saving the structure and weight penalties the company says are usually the undoing of such small-fuselage designs.
"It is not currently possible for a large-diameter subsonic jet engine to be integrated at the rear of the fuselage of a supersonic aircraft, the fuselage diameter of which is small, especially in the aft section, since the aerodynamic drag created by the supporting structures forming the fastening system of the prior art would then be excessive," the inventor states.
Here's the graphic Airbus included with the application