Join Date: Nov 2017
Which supersonic aircraft fly furthest over M1.5?
I can’t find a resource which shows how far planes fly at maximum speed. Wikipedia shows maximum speed, maximum range, ferry range, combat range, but few planes have their maximum range listed when flying supersonically.
When Putin’s visit to the Tu-160 factory was recently reported, he implied that they’d been asked by billionaires for a supersonic business jet, and that the White Swan/Blackjack might be converted (although the factory boss apparently said that would be like cracking a nut with a sledgehammer). But maybe it wouldn’t need much converting: I believe the Tu-160 already has 5 seats, a toilet, a bunk and cabin storage area, so could the bomb bays be used to carry extra fuel, luggage and/or passenger areas?
How cool would it be to jump into an SSBJ for a joyride around your nearest sea? I live in the south of England, so I was wondering if I could do a lap of the Arctic Circle at at over M1.5. I chose M1.5 because regardless of whether you’re at sea level or 60,000 feet, I believe M1.5 is always over 1,000 mph and even knots, which just sounds cool. But it seems as though without refueling, a Tu-160 could only do a lap of the Bay of Biscay or the North Sea, and even Concorde could only do a lap of the Norwegian Sea (see map). So what other aircraft have or had these capabilities?
— Wiki says Concorde flew over 4,400 miles at M2, and the Tu-144 about 4,000 miles.
— Wiki then says the XB-70 Valkyrie was ‘capable of cruising for thousands of miles at Mach 3+ while flying at 70,000 feet … cruise speed was M3 … combat range was 4,000mi+’.
— Next on the list is probably the SR-71 Blackbird, which Wiki says could do at least M3, range at least 3,000mi, but doesn’t say how much of that could be supersonic.
— The B-1 bomber can only do M1.2, but fighters such as the Typhoon, Tornado, MiG25 and F-15 can all exceed M2. However their subsonic ranges are only around one or two thousand miles.
— The only fighter that I could find with its supersonic range quoted is the F-22 (ironic as I thought it was classified), which says ‘Combat radius 460 nmi clean (with 100 nmi in supercruise)’, which sounds like about 5 minutes!
Maybe we’ll have to wait for the Aerion AS2 which is projected to have a range of up to 5,000mi at M1.4, or the Boom supersonic airliner which should do 5,000 at M2.2. It seems like an unfortunate choice of name, as the supersonic boom is one of the main complaints against SST.
So if these billionaires have to wait until the next decade for something like an AS2, and all other aircraft that could fly long-haul supersonically are all retired, what choice would they have if they wanted one now?
It seems to me that at the moment the only choice is either sitting in the weapons officer’s seats of a Tu-160, unless any fighter jets can fly supersonically for more than 100 miles?
What plane would you use to do a supersonic lap of your nearest sea?
David Valencia, Bristol
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500+ collector, teacher and aviator
Faves: SR-71, Concorde, Tu-160, Handley Page Victor, 747, plus anything weird or ugly.
WishList: G-BSST, Aerion AS2, Ankair, AvroArrow, Boom Overture, Bristol 188+Brabazon, BN Defender, Craic C929, Embraer KC390, Fairey Delta2, HALTejas, IrkutMC21, Lockheed L2000, MiG1.44, McDonnellDoug YC15, Myasishchev 55, NALSaras, Northrop MQ4, PacificSun DHC6, PZL M15 Belfegor, SukhoiT4, Transavia PL12 Airtruk
Last edited by DavidUK; 03-02-2018 at 04:49 PM.
Reason: amend title