September 4, 2020 8:58 am

Future Air Force One to go supersonic

By Sandesh Ilhe

The Air Force One is known to be a flying fortress that carries the most powerful man on earth around the globe. And now the high-profile aircraft is set to get an upgraded version that can fly at twice the speed of the current one that travels almost at the speed of the sound.

The Pentagon has commissioned a prototype of a new supersonic Air Force One to see the American president travel even faster and save time. The US Air Force recently awarded a 24-month contract to aviation firm Exosonic to start developing a presidential airplane that can travel at supersonic speeds. The award reportedly is worth $1 million and will sponsor the work to “modify” Exosonic’s current plans for a supersonic commercial plane into a proposal for a presidential aircraft, the Washington Times reported on Wednesday, September 2.

The contract was announced on Monday, August 31, by the Air Force’s Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate. In a tweet posted on the same day, the Air Force’s Life Cycle Management Center said the contract is aimed to “develop a low-boom supersonic executive transport aircraft that will allow key decision-makers and teams to travel around the world in half the time it takes now!”

The current Air Force One travels at 640 miles per hour

The current Air Force One plane or ‘Flying Oval Office’ is a Boeing 747-200B which travels at a maximum speed of .84 mach or more than 640 miles an hour, according to Boeing. The speed of sound is 760-plus miles an hour.

According to officials, the “low boom” aspect of the project will see the plane reach the incredibly high speed relatively quietly, the Times report added. “The future for global rapid passenger travel is low-boom supersonic flight. Low boom allows travelers to fly at supersonic speeds without generating disruptive booms for those on the ground,” Exosonic CEO Norris Tie said in a press release while announcing the contract. “Exosonic is excited to win this contract as it represents not only commercial but government promise for low-boom supersonic travel.”

“Exosonic will be tasked with reimagining a new presidential plane that will need to factor in variables including ‘power, weight, dimensions, communication systems, and cabin layout,” Air Force Materiel Command was quoted as saying by Military.com.

According to the Military.com report that came out on Tuesday, September 1, the latest contract follows the one awarded to Hermeus Corp, another start-up developing Mach 5 commercial aircraft that can more than five times the speed of sound. It has been reported that the Georgia-based company successfully tested a Mach 5 engine prototype earlier this year.

It may be mentioned here that months after coming to office in January 2017, President Donald Trump said the projected cost of a new Air Force One aircraft was too high and hence the air force was going to buy a pair of Boeing 747 jetliners abandoned by a bankrupt Russian airline.

Sandesh Ilhe

With an Engineers degree in Advanced Database Management and Information Security, Sandesh brings the deep understanding of the digital world to the table. His articles reflect the challenges and the complexities that come along with every disruption in the industry. He carries over six years of experience on working with websites and ensuring that the right article reaches the right reader.

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