When the Concorde was retired from service, reasons given included:

  • It was expensive to operate; it burned a lot of fuel and had high maintenance costs, resulting in high ticket prices
  • Could only operate on overseas routes where the sonic boom it created could go essentially unnoticed
  • It had a very limited market because of the above

But the Concorde was built with 1960s technology and aeronautical science. Modern aero engines are more fuel efficient, modern materials and manufacturing methods could potentially reduce maintenance costs, and there is today about 50 years of additional aeronautical science available.

So my question is this:

Is it possible to design a 200-300 seat airliner having performance comparable to Concorde (Mach 2+ at 50,000 ft or so), without creating a noticeable or objectionable sonic boom at ground level, and operating economics at least close to that of a typical subsonic airliner?

I have read similar questions ([one] and [two]) which explore the reasons Concorde was retired, but the discussions are framed around Concorde itself - an aircraft developed in the 1960s and never updated, or the abandoned Boeing 2707. None appear to acknowledge that at least four decades of scientific and technological progress has occurred since these aircraft were in development, and how that may or may not alter the feasibility of an SST service flying an all-new design. They also don't address the question of whether new advances allow for large aircraft to fly supersonic without creating a noticeable or objectionable ground-level sonic boom.

  • $\begingroup$ related: aviation.stackexchange.com/q/3782/1467 $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ also related and possibly duplicate: aviation.stackexchange.com/q/29204/1467 $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 16:02
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ While the other questions mention the Concorde, personally I don't see how the answers would not apply to any other project in the same category, since they are general answers that do not deal with any specific project or airframe. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Dec 9, 2017 at 20:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @jjack if we have to speak about the future, then it risks becoming opinion based, because we cannot forecast what will happen. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 6:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @jjack that's opinion, and the SE network considers that as off-topic. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 7:12


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