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London to LA in three hours? Meet the 1350mph private jet

Airbus plans aircraft that can fly at twice the speed of Concorde

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Though it looks like something conjured up by a dodgy balloon twister (or is it Thunderbird 2?), this is far from child’s play. It’s called the Ultra-Rapid Air Vehicle (URAV), and is the work of Airbus, which has filed a patent for an aircraft design that promises to fly at twice the speed of Concorde.

That’s just the start of a bewildering set of numbers that prove man has more to offer future generations than the invention of the cheese-crust pizza. It promises to do 5,592 miles – that’s London to Los Angeles – in three hours.

There’s a ‘gothic’ delta wing, a fuselage with liquid hydrogen and oxygen tanks, a turbojet, a ramjet and a rocket motor. The rocket lifts the aircraft vertically at speeds of Mach 1, after which the turbojet and ramjets propel the craft to speeds of between Mach 4 and 4.5.

The patent outlines that this URAV will break the sound barrier with a less noisy supersonic ‘boom’, and be able to cruise 20km higher than most commercial aircraft. Between 30,000m and 35,000m is quoted.

While the patent reckons the commercial viability would be for “VIP passengers” (around 20) and business travel, there’s a military aspect, too. Things like strategic reconnaissance and rapid transport of high-value goods and elite commandos.

And, um, there are plans for an “offensive” version of the URAV able to carry out “precision strikes”, or with the ability to use electromagnetic pulses to take out “high-added-value targets”. Which makes it a supersonic attack craft that can also get you to your meeting in New York from London in less than an hour.

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