Airbus has won a patent for an “ultra-rapid air vehicle” that the aircraft maker says could travel over four times the speed of sound, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The patent, which was approved last month, details a hypersonic jet twice as fast as the Concorde, a supersonic jet that had previously been in commercial service. The Concorde, which was developed partly by a company now owned by Airbus, was capable of flying at about 1,300 mph (2,100 km/h), or twice the speed of sound — a feat the new invention can beat with new turbojets and a hydrogen power system, according to the patent.
Like other lofty patents, it’s unlikely that the hypersonic jet will become a reality any time soon — at least not within the one-year term for which the patent was approved. Still, some of the ideas involved with the design could make their way to real aircraft further in the future.