# If no low-speed compromises were made, what would an ideal Mach-3 wing look like?

Things like the Concorde and Tu-144 and many other supersonic craft need a wing that has good high-speed and good low-speed performance. After all, it needs to be able to take-off and land. Good low-speed performance is achieved with things like flaps, slats, and the wing shape itself.

But let's just say, hypothetically, you don't need good low-speed performance at all. So no such compromises in the wing shape. What would an ideal Mach-3 wing look like?

The goal is to have a wing with the highest lift-to-drag ratio at Mach 3.

I chose Mach-3 because that seems to be the limit on what jet aircraft have been put into production (MiG-31, SR-71) (which does not count experimental aircraft).

I'm interested in conventional designs, not things like the Blended-Wing-Body. So presumably this ideal aircraft would look similar to the Concorde or Tu-144.

Some things I've noted over the years:

• The X-15 had a "wedge" shaped vertical stabilizer with a flat back. You can see it in photos. They said it was because the flat back produces more stability for less drag at high mach. Would a mach-3 wing also have a thick, flat trailing edge?

• Ogival Delta seems very popular for large sophisticated supersonic aircraft. Never understood why that is exactly, since the pure delta triangle is easier to manufacture and bear loads easier.

• The XB-70 Valkyrie had folding wings to give it anhedral, supposedly to capture the shockwave and thus be a wave-rider, which is more efficient. I've noticed the Concorde also has slightly drooping wings near the tips.

Note: I don't need a complete 3D model of the wing shape. I'm more interested in things like what planeform it has, what anhedral/dihedral if any, etc.

• I'm not an aerodynamics engineer, but I suspect there's not a single "ideal" wing. Even if you did the airspeed, there are other parameters you need to trade off between. Do you want maneuverability, fuel efficiency, payload... Aug 13, 2017 at 15:28
• @yshavit Ah, don't need maneuverability. Was thinking simply to get the max lift-to-drag ratio. will edit. Aug 13, 2017 at 21:04
• I think this is a valid question; we know for subsonic flight the ideal wing is infinitely long and narrow, so how would it look for supersonic flight? Aug 13, 2017 at 21:08
• Looking beyond aircraft design into the design of large missiles may give a good indication of what such a craft might look like. Those are after all vehicles designed for such speeds, reached after a very short boost phase after launch which is typically performed during ballistic flight rather than controlled. Aug 14, 2017 at 9:02

• Wow that's quite a drone. Flight ceiling 29 km, speed Mach 3.35, range 5,550 km. My only concern is that stealth shape may have necessitated some compromise in the wing shape. I read the wiki article but all it had to say was The Q-12...used key technology from the A-12 project, including...radar cross-section reduction design features. Aug 14, 2017 at 2:47