DUBAI: HyperMach sounds out the Middle East

Dubai
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Supersonic business jet developer HyperMach has revealed more details about the SonicStar, which it promises will whisk passengers from the Gulf to New York in 2.5h, at more than three times the speed of sound.

The UK-based start-up unveiled the project at June's Paris air show, although a team has been working on the technology - which includes a proprietary hybrid gas turbine engine - for seven years, said founder and chief executive Richard Lugg.

The company hopes to fly a prototype of the twinjet in 2021 and is at Dubai to generate interest in the Middle East, in what Lugg believes could be one of its biggest markets.

There are two crucial "disruptive" technologies which will allow the 20-passenger SonicStar to fly at up to Mach 4 without creating a sonic boom, said Lugg. Its engine - dubbed the S-Magjet 4000-X - will use electromagnetic generation to allow each stage of the engine to rotate independently.

This will "enable the engine to change the operating speeds of its rotating components continually throughout the flight to respond to the changing conditions of the atmosphere", said the company.

The other innovation is what HyperMach calls electromagnetic drag reduction technology, which Lugg said will "create an electromagnetic vacuum through which the aircraft will pass".

HyperMach is the second independent company working on a supersonic jet project. US-based Aerion has been looking for an established partner to help certificate its design for the past seven years.

Lugg is confident that HyperMach can succeed where bigger manufacturers - including the maker of the Concorde - have failed. The Anglo-French supersonic airliner, only 14 of which were delivered and withdrawn from service in 2003, "didn't have the technology we have", said Lugg.