Though still a preliminary design and without a name, Boeing says the aircraft could have military or civilian applications but won't be in the sky for another 20 to 30 years.
“We're excited about the potential to connect the world faster than ever before,” said Naveed Hussain, Boeing's vice president of aeromechanics. “Although technology and regulatory challenges are ahead, Boeing has been studying hypersonics for over six decades, which makes us the right company to bring this technology to market when the world is ready.”
Outside of the Concorde's run between 1976 and 2003, supersonic travel has remained a largely elusive dream for commercial aviation. If achieved, the rapid speeds could revolutionise world travel, experts say.
Boeing said that this is just one of several hypersonic-vehicle concepts it is studying and that the company looks “decades ahead at what could be possible”.
Kevin Bowcutt, Boeing's senior technical fellow and chief scientist of hypersonics, said that the aircraft could be designed to travel even faster: “This aircraft would allow you to fly across the ocean and back in one day, which is all most people would want.”