NASA and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) plant to develop a low-noise, fuel-efficient supersonic jet to take off where the Concorde aircraft ended. According to the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, NASA will work out the details of the joint program in June.
Formation of a consortium with several Japanese aerospace makers and Boeing Co., will allow both sides to launch joint research on the project this summer. The research and development cost of the project is estimated to reach “several hundred” billion yen according to the business daily, with one hundred billion yean currently worth about 880 million dollars.
Japan agreed with France last year on conducting supersonic transport joint research, and the project with the U.S. will further accelerate its drive into the global aviation market. The successful flying of a small supersonic jet prototype by the Japanese, prompted the U.S. to propose the joint venture project. There has been no supersonic jet commercial service since late in 2003 after almost 28 years of service.
Japan hopes to develop a plane that would travel at the same speed as the Concorde, but would produce one percent of the noise. With a projected date of operation of 2020, and capacity of 200 to 300 seats, the aircraft could travel between Tokyo and Los Angeles in five hours.