J. Merten*

Daimler-Benz Aerospace Airbus GmbH, Bremen, Germany

3.1 Concorde Technology Level

Concorde (Figure 9) is the only supersonic airliner which has been introduced into regular pas­senger service. It is still in service at British Airways and Air France w ithout any flight accidents, and probably will stay in service for at least for ten more years.

Concorde has experienced the most supersonic flight hours and flight miles of any air­craft Indeed, the twelve flying Concordes have accumulated more supersonic flight hours than die total of all military aircraft in the world Concorde s range is about 6 500 km, whereas the best fighters like the Su-27 or F-22 (so called “superc-misers") achieve about 200 km in sus­tained low supersonic cruise, and military supersonic bombers or reconnaissance aircraft like the B-l or SR-71 reach about 3.500 km without refuelling. But although the supersonic flight range of Concorde is by far better than for any other supersonic jet built, this range was the most important limning factor in the commercial success of the Concorde. A new tabic supersonic airliner, called Supersonic Commercial Transport (SCT). must be able to sene the important trans-Pacific market, requiring a range of 10.000 to 11.000 km. This is a tremendous improve­ment compared to the Concorde

What arc the differences between Concorde and a new SCT? Besides the larger size, which improves the range performance a bit, technology improvements arc cited to enable this big step forward. So. let’s look at the technology improvements we have achieved in aviation since the Concorde design As there is no other supersonic airliner, wc have to compare Con­corde’s contemporary subsonic airliners with the newest generation of subsonic airliners

Figure 9 Concorde

Aircraft flight performance is governed by aerodynamics, structures and engines All other specific disciplines, although often important for the viability of an aircraft, are only weakly related to flight performance of transport aircraft. Therefore we will look at the improvements in these three mam disciplines

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