Lockheed Martin's Skunk Work unit is designing a small, 12-seat supersonic private jet that would travel at 1,200 mph (Mach 1.8) but would produce only a whisper of the annoying crack once emitted by the retired Concorde planes.
Aimed at business executives and diplomats, the QSST will fly at nearly twice the speed of conventional business jets and have a range of 4,600 miles nonstop -- Los Angeles to New York in just over two hours.
It could be ready for boarding by 2013, according to the company.
"Our design uses innovative aerodynamic shaping and employs a patented inverted V-tail that is instrumental to the radical reduction in sonic boom," said Frank Cappuccio, Skunk Works' executive vice president.
Designers expect the QSST to make a sonic boom less than a hundredth that of the Concorde's aural impact. Concorde was barred from flying at supersonic speeds over the United States when it debuted in the 1970s because excessive noise was produced by pressure waves colliding in the plane's wake.
The project has en estimated cost of $2.5 billion. More details over at Wired.