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Boeing unveils new hypersonic aircraft model

Boeing hypersonic aircraft (Boeing/YouTube)
January 07, 2022

Boeing unveiled a new hypersonic aircraft model this week, with a design that evolved from a previous concept dubbed “Valkyrie” first exhibited four years ago. The model could be used in both military and commercial operations, the company said.  

The Drive reported that the model was first noticed by Aviation Week Senior Editor Guy Norris, who spotted it at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Forum and Exposition in San Diego, California, which kicked off on Monday. Norris shared images of the new model on Twitter.

“Four years after first unveiling its hypersonic airliner concept at #AIAASciTech 2018 [Boeing] has revealed a refined, more realistic Mach 5 reusable air-breathing design targeting military and space launch roles at @aiaa San Diego event,” Norris tweeted.

“A couple more detailed images of newly unveiled [Boeing] Mach 5 reusable hypersonic concept at #AIAASciTech here in San Diego,” he wrote in a separate post.  

An artist’s rendering of the aircraft was also obtained by The Drive.

While there are very few details on the new model, Boeing’s 2018 hypersonic passenger aircraft concept was designed to get passengers from New York to London in just two hours by traveling at speeds of Mach 5, or roughly 3,836 miles per hour. The aircraft would also cruise at around 95,000 feet.

The aircraft proposed at the time would be 2.5 times faster and 30,000 feet higher than the Concorde jet.  

“When you look at the problem of getting from Point A to Point B anywhere in the world, the question is how fast do you want to go and how fast is fast enough?” said Kevin Bowcutt, who was Boeing’s senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics at the time.

“Supersonic isn’t really fast enough to go overseas and back in one day. For the business traveler or the military, where time is really important, that’s an interesting point. Mach 5 is where you can do that,” he added. “You can get across the Atlantic in about two hours and across the Pacific in about three hours.”

Bowcutt said the hypersonic aircraft could hit the skies in 20 to 30 years.

“We’re excited about the potential of hypersonic technology to connect the world faster than ever before,” Bowcutt continued. “Boeing is building upon a foundation of six decades of work designing, developing and flying experimental hypersonic vehicles, which makes us the right company to lead the effort in bringing this technology to market in the future.”