Exosonic To Develop America’s New Supersonic Air Force One

A Californian start-up has joined forces with the United States Air Force to develop a supersonic aircraft for VIP transport. Exosonic is an early-stage company developing a Mach 1.8, 9000 kilometer plus range, 70 supersonic passenger airliner. Exosonic’s key selling point? A muted sonic boom.

Exosonic has won a contract to develop supersonic technologies for the USAF VIP fleet. Photo: Exosonic

The United States Air Force is responsible for providing presidential and executive transport, including operating Air Force One through the Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, based out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.

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The United States Air Force partners will smart start-ups to develop supersonic technologies

In its quest to develop supersonic VIP transport, the Air Force Directorate has been partnering with several smart start-ups. Simple Flying recently reported on what Hermeus Corporation is doing in conjunction with the United States Air Force. Hermeus is looking at modifying their Mach 5 capable jet into VIP transport for the United States Air Force. Now, Exosonic gets thrown into the mix.

“The Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate is extremely excited to team with Exosonic on our quest to transform the future of executive airlift. As always, we are proud to be leading the charge to deliver cutting-edge technology to the world,” said Brigadier General Ryan Britton, Air Force Program Executive Officer for Presidential & Executive Airlift, in a statement seen by Simple Flying.

“By teaming with industry, we are proving the United States Air Force can deliver technology leaps while maximizing return on taxpayer investment.”

Hermeus Corporation is another start-up developing supersonic technologies for the USAF VIP fleet. Photo: Hermeus Corporation Newsroom

Exosonic mutes the sonic boom

In what looks like becoming a crowded field, Exosonic’s point of difference is its boom softening technology. Because of the sonic boom, overland supersonic flights are rare. That curtails the potential of supersonic flying.

But Exosonic says it can mute the sonic boom, meaning overland supersonic flying can become the norm. In turn, flight times significantly reduce. That’s a capability the United States Air Force is very interested in.

“Transporting key decision-makers and teams around the world in half the time can be the difference between success and failure,” says Brigadier General Britton.

But this is a long play by the United States Air Force. Exosonic doesn’t plan to make a prototype for a few more years. They don’t expect certification flights to occur until the end of the decade. In the meantime, the Directorate’s flagship aircraft, modified Boeing 747-200Bs that frequently fly as Air Force One, are due to be replaced by brand new modified Boeing 747-8s. VIPs will have to make do with years of flying at conventional speeds for the foreseeable future.

The USAF wants to replace conventional VIP transport with supersonic transport in the future. Photo: Bill Larkins via Wikimedia Commons

Exosonic wants to make supersonic travel accessible to all

Exosonic sees their new contract with the United States Air Force as benefiting everyone, not just VIPs. Ultimately, the company wants to make supersonic flying accessible to all. Advances made under this program will eventually filter down to commercial aircraft.

Exosonic says in a statement that the partnership will “enhance our commercial abilities to bring quiet supersonic travel to all. “

“Exosonic is excited to win this contract as it represents not only commercial but government promise for low-boom supersonic travel,” said the CEO of Exosonic, Norris Tie.

Mr Tie makes a bold call. But its one that suits his ambitions perfectly. He says low-boom supersonic flight will be the next inflection point in commercial aviation. The way Mr Tie puts it, down the track, start-ups like Exosonic will make supersonic travel accessible to everyone.