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HyperMach unveils SonicStar supersonic business jet concept


June 20, 2011

Scale model of the HyperMach SonicStar SSBJ concept

Scale model of the HyperMach SonicStar SSBJ concept

Image Gallery (5 images)

Anyone who has endured a long-haul flight will know that they're not the most pleasant way to spend a day - and night. Like EADS with its ZEHST concept plane, UK-based aerospace company HyperMach is looking to ease the pain of long-distance air travel - at least for those that can afford it - with its SonicStar supersonic business jet concept that it unveiled at the Paris Air Show today. With its ability to cruise at Mach 3.5 at an altitude of 60,000 ft. (18.9 km), the SonicStar will be able to fly from New York to Paris in under two hours or from New York to Sydney in just five hours - a journey that currently takes over 20 hours on a commercial airliner.

Featuring electromagnetic drag reduction technology that eliminates any sonic boom over land, the SonicStar is powered by two 54,700 thrust class Supersonic-Magnetic Advanced Generation Jet Electric Turbine (S-MAGJET) engines that HyperMach says is 30 percent more fuel efficient than the Rolls Royce 593 Engine in Concorde. These hybrid supersonic, non-afterburning engines - to be built by HyperMach sister company SonicBlue - operate electrically by generating a large amount of on-board power through the use of superconducting ring generators powered by the high velocity exhaust thrust from the combustor section of the engines.

The majority of the electricity produced is directed forward through a proprietary electric power management system to run a superconducting electric ring motor axial compressor and multi-stage counter rotating, superconducting, dual ring motor electric bypass fans. The bypass fans run independently of the compressor allowing them to run at much lower speeds than the compressor to provide a more efficient RPM for the engine's fan blade design. HyperMach says the electrical independence of the bypass fan from the compressor alone raises the engine's overall efficiency by 70 percent.

The twin fans are also counter rotating to reduce aerodynamic swirl and drag and can be run at optimal rotational speed at any aircraft speed or altitude. This allows the aircraft to boast an impressive a cruise fuel efficiency below 1.05 lbs. of fuel, per lb. of thrust, per hour at Mach 3.5. Jet-A, JP-4 and JP-7 fuel capable, the jet can carry 75,000 lb. of fuel providing a range of 6,000 nautical miles.

Further enhancing the SonicStar's efficiency is its aerodynamic double delta supersonic laminar flow wing design. To reduce skin friction, the titanium structure wings feature carbon composite structural skins and panels, and titanium nickel-cobalt alloy leading and trailing edges, while the tail section has high temperature composite skins and titanium alloyed leading edges. The aircraft measures 226 ft. (68.8 m) long and has a wingspan of 74 ft. (22.5 m).

The interior, which can seat 10-20 VVIP (yes, that's an extra V) passengers, canl be customized with luxury fittings, while the cabin-sized cargo compartments are medical supply and cryogenic refrigeration capable and can even accommodate larger luxury items, such as thoroughbred race horses.

HyperMach's SonicStar is expected to cost upwards of US$80 million with the first flight slated for June, 2021.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

dreams are free.

Are they sure it\'s not \"laser\" powered?

Why don\'t they just invent teleportation?

and there\'s a few zeroes missing off the price.



VERY impressive! This spec\'s on this baby reads like a sifi space ship. I can\'t wait to see it hit the market. :-)


the supersonic transport is still a great idea, but the last one was grounded. My guess is too many hours at high speed without military level maintinence is what is required.

John H

When you read all the problems the guys @ Boeing have with their Ramjet X-51 and see all the delays the A380 has faced I think they should put more focus on teleportation. And yes! if this cost ONLY $80M I think I\'ll ask to my dad one for next Christmas.


John H - Concorde wasn\'t \'grounded\', the Concorde fleet was retired after 25 years of reliable service, so it was actually pretty successful. The fleet was only temporarily grounded after the Paris crash for fuel tank reinforcements as the crash was caused by debris from a DC-10 tailcone puncturing the tanks.

I believe that supersonic transport can be possible again, but this HyperMach concept is very pie-in-the-sky, with some whopping technical oversights and over-assumptions.

-No sonic boom? At mach 3.5? Doubtful. -No hydraulic system, all electric controls - at mach 3.5?? Doubtful. -Minimum take-off speed of 225 knots, needing 9000ft of runway - good luck!


The only thing that makes sense in this design is the wings, yes it is very possible to build something with all those specs, but at that price? and to be allowed as a commercial aircraft? I don\'t even think something this fast would even get approved, this is faster than most military jets. Now onto the hullabaloo, Mach 3.5 is firstly, too fast for civilian flight, it wouldn\'t be allowed because of 1, the sonic boom, and 2 the fact that very little can catch up to it. Second, there\'s the pressure at those altitudes, then there\'s the little problem of air friction, heard of it? that\'s why the Blackbird was around 700 degrees Celsius outside its windows. Nice concept, the tech exist, just the comfort would be less VIP and more cerebral edimaish, but if you can look past that I\'m sure you\'ll enjoy being in Sydney 15 hours earlier.

Evan van den Berg

Color me - skeptical....

James Dugan

Great! Now comes a new way for the ultra rich to blow through the Earth's resources. Imagine the environmental footprint of someone who has multiple of houses that are tens of thousand square feet in size. Of their trips in their private jets. One in a hundred Americans took home every fourth dollar made in this country last year. I bet if you started crunching the numbers you would discover those one percent are responsible for a quarter of all the pollution produced in this country.


Yeah! F these pie-in-the-sky dreamers and their ridiculous, unrealistic goals.

If engineers and the general public encouraged this kind of retarded innovation, we\'d have to give up our 50s-60s designed 747s, B-51s, and our up-and-coming Apollo-style spaceships! We just need to MODIFY existing designs instead of inventing new ones! That\'s how we make giant strides in science. Horray for conservative, boring, safe advancement.

I know I don\'t want to see things advance like my parents did... that would be scary!


A couple of small items for consideration here: a) Concorde\'s RR Olympus 593\'s were able to operate so successfully for so long at supersonic airspeeds because the intake geometry was variable - reducing incoming airflow to a compressor-friendly subsonic velocity. Elegant simplicity. Yet this proposal specifies a 3.5 Mach cruise - with no mention of precisely how an acceptable intake air velocity is to be achieved. This ancient aircraft engineer is confused... b) Moving back to Concorde\'s Mach-2 cruise, one of the speed limiters there was a temperature sensor at the tip of the nose pitot tube, which sent a fuel-trim signal back to the engine management computers to begin reducing fuel flow at a pitot tip temperature of 127 degrees Celsius, at Mach 2. At this point, the wing leading edge temperatures would be just under 100 degrees, though cooled by clever use of fuel as a heat sink medium. The proposed SST has a design cruise of 3.5 Mach, almost double that of its ancestor - so one simply has to ask how hot the external skin of this machine is going to become, how will it be cooled and how the significant thermal expansion will be catered for at this velocity?

Nick Herbert

I invite visitors to see an article entitled \"Preliminary study to raise axial flow compressors up to the context-awareness standards\" published in Aerospace Science and Technology Vol.12 No.7 October 2008 pages 515-523. The paper suggests the concept engine that HyperMach is calling it Advanced Generation Jet Electric Turbine (S-MAGJET) now. In fact I suggested such an engine in 2003 and published a paper about it in 2008. I have been working on idea of Context-Aware gas turbine engine since early in the 2000. To download the article free of charge please visit babakaryana.tripod.com


Friends , let us not forget that mankind owes most of its progress to those who dared to dream ! I often say that a large chunk of progress , discoveries and inventions in pure sciences and in applied sciences have come about due to authors of Science Fiction ! They sowed the seeds of curiosity and challenge which acted as the \"cause\" and we are today enjoying the benefits of the \' effect \' . Friends , let us give the devil his dues . Give credit where it belongs . Remember , Rt. Rev. Father Wright , the father of the two young man , used to often proclaim that it is for the Angels to fly not the humans . God bless all homo sapiens !

Er. A.K.Mittal

Imagine , US $ 80 Mn. for 10 to 20 passengers in VVIP comfort and at hypersonic speed ! Remember , today a BBJ 3 costs about same ! Wow !

Er. A.K.Mittal

it\'s great that people are thinking about producing things like this again, and it is very pretty but...

if the scale in these images is correct, there is no way those engines will produce that kind of power without a serious afterburner. 54700 lbs (I assume?) of dry thrust is almost twice the power of concorde\'s olympus engines, which were only turbojets and consequently quite narrow for their power. This plane would need a low-bypass turbofan to comply with noise level restrictions, which would mean a pretty significant inlet diameter - which will cause more drag. Plus there would need to be a good few metres in front of the engine for a variable inlet system, or the turbines will melt.

The designers have obviously had a stab at low-boom design here, but the fuselage looks very slim. I would wonder where all that fuel will go, since the wings are very thin. 75,000 lbs of Jet A fuel (which I doubt would be enough for even 3000 nautical miles) takes up around 28 cub metres of space... where will it go?. Come to think of it, where will the undercarriage go?

@PeetEngineer - The sonic boom from this plane could actually be quite low. The boom intensity doesn\'t really change above M1.3 and the design of the structure would suggest to me a boom signature of around 1/4 of Concorde. It looks like it\'s got a quiet-spike esque protrusion at the front and has extensive area-ruling, and the mounting of the engines and vertical stabiliser are all following low-boom design criteria.

I am very sceptical that the plane will be as fast as M3.5


I think that our best and brightest will someday make this concept a reality!!

Dare to dream!!!

Craig Manning
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