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Air Force One is Going Hypersonic

The presidential plane will travel five times the speed of sound.


Have you ever wondered why anybody would want to be President of the United States?

Well, if controlling the world’s most powerful military and largest economy, as well as the most COVID-19 challenged populous on the planet wasn’t alluring enough, an aerospace company called Hermeus might have just the thing to lure you into office.

Last week the company announced a contract with the Air Force and the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate to develop a hypersonic aircraft for the presidential fleet. While the next Air Force One, a modified Boeing 747-8, is scheduled for delivery next year, the hypersonic craft could be that plane’s long-term replacement.

According to Hermeus, the company won the contract after designing, building, and successfully testing an engine prototype capable of boosting a plane to Mach 5. This is about 3,300 mph, or five times the speed of sound. This translates to trans-Atlantic trips taking less than two hours, but the project isn’t scheduled to go at a similar pace.

Utilizing a turbine-based combined-cycle engine, the plan is to build a demonstrator craft over the next five years, with a working plane ready in about a decade.

Hermeus is comprised of former SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Generation Orbit staff. And in case you were looking for a change, the company currently has almost a dozen open positions listed on their website.

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