One of several supersonic business jet configurations being studied jointly by Lockheed Martin and Gulfstream Aerospace has been revealed in a US patent application.

Although the application, filed by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, provides no details of the design, accompanying diagrams show a twin-engined aircraft with highly swept "arrow" wing and an unusual tail. The horizontal stabiliser sweeps forward and down from the truncated fin to the mid-span engine nacelles.

Under the five-year Quiet Supersonic Aircraft Technology programme with Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is studying designs which minimise the sonic boom to allow supersonic flight over land.

Lockheed Martin executives have said that the Skunk Works is using stealth design techniques to shape the aircraft to suppress the sonic boom. The patent application shows a configuration with a complex-curved fuselage.

Gulfstream has said that any supersonic business jet would need to have a GIV-sized cabin, a range of at least 7,000km (4,000nm) and a cruise speed of under Mach 1.8.

The two companies caution that flight-testing of a demonstrator is five years away and development of a supersonic business jet at least 10 years away.

Source: Flight International