Nasa wants 'New Concorde' from Lockheed Martin

ConcordeAeronautics company Lockheed Martin has been given $20 million by Nasa to build a new Concorde.

The experimental aircraft will be part of a series called “X-planes” and if successful will become the first supersonic commercial airliner since the Anglo-French Concorde was retired after nearly 30 years of service in 2003. 


The legendary aircraft used to fly faster than the speed of sound and cut journey times for transatlantic flights between London and New York journey to around three and a half hours. The design remains an icon for many Brits, even those who never got the chance to take the expensive trip.

Concorde was also famous for its supersonic boom (the noise made when the sound barrier is broken) but the new research aims to make sure that this will be far less intense than before. The noise was one of the reasons Concorde was refused permission to fly faster than sound in US airspace over land limiting potential destinations for it to service. 

Quiet supersonic technology

Charles Bolden, Nasa Administrator, revealed the preliminary design phase of what is being called the quiet supersonic technology (QueSST) programme in Washington, where he linked it to previous Nasa initiatives such as the rocket-powered Bell X-1 which first broke the sound barrier in 1947.

Bolden said: “Now we’re continuing that supersonic X-plane legacy with this preliminary design award for a quieter supersonic jet with an aim toward passenger flight.”

General Manager of Lockheed’s Skunk Works, Rob Weiss, said the famous experimental projects company had been working with Nasa for more than ten years to develop the tech for a brand new era of commercial supersonic air travel.

The ‘new aviation horizons’ initiative from Nasa is expected to last ten years and aims to reduce fuel use, emissions and noise. This will be achieved by innovations in design which could mean that the aircraft of tomorrow will look very different from those we know today.

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Date Created: 02 March 2016

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