Lockheed Martin Skunk Works has rolled out the X-59, an experimental aircraft reportedly designed to minimise the impact of sonic booms.
John Clark, Vice President and General Manager at Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, commented on the collaboration with NASA, stating, “We’re thrilled to take on this challenge alongside NASA, whose quiet supersonic technology mission will have lasting, transformational impacts for people around the world, according to our expectations. This project is just one example of the broader ingenuity of our industry as we continually strive to push the envelope of what’s possible.”
Greg Ulmer, Executive Vice President at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, acknowledged the joint efforts, saying, “The entire X-59 team leaned into the expertise of both legendary organizations, NASA and Lockheed Martin, to ensure success for this program, as we anticipate. I am extremely proud of everyone who made this historic moment possible.”
The next steps for the X-59 involve ground tests, including engine-run and taxi tests, in preparation for its anticipated first flight later this year. The aircraft will then proceed to the acoustic testing phase, involving flights over populated areas to collect data for regulatory purposes.
This phase is intended to gather evidence to potentially enable new regulations that could allow for quieter commercial supersonic flight over land, potentially halving commercial flight times, as per Lockheed Martin’s and NASA’s objectives.