Supersonic aircraft
Supersonic aircraft

Supersonic aircraft

Supersonic aircraft are aircraft capable of flying at speeds exceeding the speed of sound (Mach number M = 1,2-5).


The appearance in 1940-ies jet fighters has set designers task to further increase their speed. Increased speed has improved characteristics such as bombers and fighters.

A pioneer in the supersonic era was an American test pilot Chuck Yeager. 14.10.1947, at managing experimental aircraft Bell X-1 with rocket propulsion XLR-11, in controlled flight, he has overcome the speed of sound.


The rapid development of supersonic aviation began in the 60-70s. XX century. Then the problems of aerodynamic efficiency, controllability and stability of aircraft were solved. The high flight speed also made it possible to increase the service ceiling by more than 20 m, which was a comfortable height for bombers and reconnaissance aircraft.

Before the advent of anti-aircraft missile systems and complexes, which could hit targets at higher altitudes, the main principle of the bombing operations were holding bomber aircraft at maximum height and speed. Then it was built and put into mass production of supersonic aircraft for various purposes - scouts-bombers, interceptors, fighter, interceptor-bombers. Convair F-102 Delta Dagger was the first supersonic reconnaissance aircraft, Convair B-58 Hustler - first supersonic long-range bomber.

It is currently under design, development and production of new aircraft, some of which is produced by special technology that reduces their radar and visual visibility - "Stealth".

Passenger supersonic aircraft

In the history of aviation have been created only 2 passenger supersonic aircraft, which carried out regular flights. The first flight of the Soviet plane TU-144 31.12.1968 held, at the time of its operation - 1975-1978 years. The Anglo-French aircraft "Concorde" made its first flight, the 2.03.1969 and operated on a transatlantic direction 1976-2003 years.

The use of such aircraft made it possible not only to reduce the flight time over long distances, but also to use unoccupied air lines at high altitudes (about 18 km) at a time when the heights of 9-12 km, which were used by the liners, were heavily loaded. Also, supersonic aircraft flew off the air routes (on straight routes).

Despite the failure of several projects transonic and supersonic aircraft (SSBJ, Tu-444, Tu-344, Tu-244, Lockheed L-2000, Boeing Sonic Cruiser, Boeing 2707) and removal of the two completed projects with the operation continues to develop advanced projects of hypersonic aircraft (eg SpaceLiner, ZEHST) and landing (military transport) aircraft rapid response. The production started a supersonic business jet Aerion AS2.

Theoretical questions

Compared to subsonic flight at supersonic speed is executed under other laws because when the aircraft speed of sound changes occur in the flow diagram, as a consequence, increases the kinetic heating system, increases aerodynamic drag, there is a change in the aerodynamic focus. All this affects the amount of deterioration of the controllability and stability of the aircraft. Also, there was a hitherto unknown phenomenon of wave impedance.

Therefore, the effective flight when the speed of sound requires not just to increase engine power, but also the introduction of new design solutions.

Therefore, these aircraft have received the change in his appearance - there were sharp angles and straight lines characteristic compared to the "smooth" form of subsonic aircraft.

To date, the task of creating a truly efficient supersonic aircraft has not been solved. The creators are obliged to find a compromise between the preservation of normal takeoff and landing characteristics, and to get more speed.

Therefore, the conquest of new lines by height and speed by modern aviation is connected not only with the introduction of new propulsion systems and layout schemes, but also with changes in the geometry of flights. These changes should improve the quality of the aircraft when flying at high speeds, without impairing their performance at low speeds, and vice versa. Designers recently refrained from reducing the area of ​​the wings and the thickness of their profiles, increasing the sweep angle, returning to the wings of great relative thickness and small sweep, if it was possible to achieve the requirements of practical ceiling and speed.

It is important that the supersonic aircraft has good flight data at low speeds and is resistant to frontal resistance at high speeds, especially at surface altitudes. 


Classification of aircraft:


Administrative plane



Military transport aircraft

Air carrier

The hybrid airship

Hypersonic aircraft


twin-boom aircraft



counterinsurgency aircraft



Flying Submarine


The orbital plane

Passenger plane

Generation jet fighter

missile carrier
Reactive plane

Regional aircraft

Aircraft maintenance
The aircraft short takeoff and landing
Aircraft reconnaissance
Supersonic aircraft
High-speed bomber

Strategic bomber


Transport aircraft

narrow-body aircraft
Training and combat aircraft

Training aircraft

wide-body aircraft
attack plane

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