PARIS: PICTURE - Hypermach takes wraps off SonicStar SSBJ

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An era of unprecedented travel times linking New York to Paris in under 2h and New York to Sydney in 5h could become reality within the next decade, says supersonic business jet developer HyperMach Europe.

At the show this morning the UK-headquartered company unveiled its 20-seat SonicStar concept, which it says is designed to fly at Mach 3.5 with no sonic boom overland.

“We will fly at twice the speed of Concorde, so that the other side of the world feels like it’s just down the road,” said Richard Lugg, Hypermach chief executive and chief scientist.

sonicstar ssbj, hypermach
 © Hypermach

Lugg – a military aircraft designer, engineer and self-confessed Concorde enthusiast – said HyperMach is driven by a mission to change air transport. “With an eye to the future, but feet firmly rooted in solid scientific research, the development of SonicStar makes what was previously impossible – reality.”

The SonicStar’s 54,700lb-thrust (245kN) class S-Magjet 4000X propulsion system has been under development for six years. It is at least 30% more fuel efficient than the Rolls-Royce Olympus 593 engine that powered Concorde, said Lugg, and gives a 20% higher thrust-to-weight ratio. “This will be the first hybrid engine to offer a highly efficient, supersonic, variable bypass fan ratio engine design,” he added.

The engine operates electrically by generating large quantities of onboard electric power through its superconducting turbine ring generator technology. Power generation and thrust comes from the five-stage, superconducting axial turbine that allows the SonicStar to reach a height of 62,000ft (18,900m) at M3.5.

The engine will be developed in the UK by sister company SonicBlue, with an unnamed manufacturing partner and with the support of the UK government. HyperMach is also holding discussions with other potential manufacturing and funding partners to help bring the aircraft to market.

First flight of the SonicStar is set for June 2021, but Lugg would not be drawn on a certification timeframe. The market for the $80 million-plus aircraft is “in the thousands”, he added, with demand expected to come from the VVIP travel and cargo sectors.