California-based Exosonic announced on Monday that it had signed a contract with the U.S. government to develop a VIP transport aircraft capable of flying at supersonic speeds.
The information was confirmed by the USAF Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, which is responsible for operating Air Force One, the US presidential plane.
“Our Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, recently awarded a US Air Force contract to Exosonic to develop a low-boom supersonic executive transport aircraft that will allow key decision makers and teams to travel around the world in half the time it takes now!”, said the USAF in a post on Twitter.
Exosonic’s initiative is slightly different from another startup, Hermeus, which also received investment from the US government for an aircraft capable of flying at Mach 5. The San Jose-based company plans to build a “low boom” tranport plane, which reaches Mach 1.8, will be quieter and can carry up to 70 passengers at a distance of 5,000 nautical miles.
His team is made up of professionals from advanced military programs such as the F-20 Tigershark, YF-23 and the USAF’s X-37B unmanned spacecraft.
The studies for a supersonic presidential transport take place amid excessive spending by the Trump administration to adapt two Boeing 747-8s as the new Air Force One. Projects financed by the US government, however, are not expected to have any practical results until the 2030s.