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HyperMach Aerospace Industries
Sonic Blue Aerospace

Sonic Blue Aerospace, Inc. was formed to develop technologies and intellectual property for new hybrid jet and electric vertical take-off and landing propulsion systems, energy generation, high-speed aerodynamics, advanced composite structures and related technologies. The company was incorporated in 2004 and was based in Brunswick, Maine.

HyperMach Aerospace Industries, Inc. was formally organised in 2008 as a U.S. based Delaware Corporation. The Management and Technical Team consists of deeply experienced professionals from the international aerospace community, government programs and major research institutes steeped in supersonic aircraft design and development, supersonic operations and commercialisation, aerospace physics, high power electromagnetics, aerospace engineering, entrepreneurship, business strategy, environmental aviation development and corporate development and finance.

Richard Lugg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, was previously Senior Vice President at Arthur D. Little, Richard led Research and Development, prototype manufacturing, engineering and management consultancy for the companys largest Innovation and Technology Division. He was also responsible for serving a diverse range of Fortune 100, 500 and Blue Chip companies in aerospace, automotive, robotics, medical devices, microelectronics, and embedded software systems. Richard achieved record sales and set a new growth track record in net operating income, whilst successfully reducing operating costs. With over 20 years of experience in aerospace invention, strategy, operations and business development, his pioneering work has helped innovate everything from propulsion systems to airframe structural designs and even entire aircraft systems.

Dr. Chittur (Venkat) Venkatasubban, Chief Engineer and Scientific Advisor HyperStar Program, is an internationally renowned expert in aircraft design and computational aerodynamics. He brings to HyperMach his experience of over three decades in senior positions at leading aerospace companies around the world (HAL Ltd, Bombardier Aerospace, Raytheon Aircraft & Hawker Beechcraft Corp.) Of particular mention is the leading role he played in the QSBJ (Quiet Supersonic Business Jet) development program at Raytheon Aircraft, reducing sonic boom signature and developing advanced propulsion integration concepts.

Guy Ngandu Kalonji, Lead Propulsion Engineer, H-MAGJET for HyperStar, provides the necessary thrust for a hypersonic flight to satisfy the demand of customers. A lead Aero-Propulsion Engineer responsible for the development of the revolutionary hypersonic hybrid superconducting H-MAGJET (Hypersonic Magnetic Advanced Generation Jet Electric Turbine) engine that can power the HyperStar aircraft at Mach 4, his work is focused on the dual bypass fan, electric compressor and turbine core architecture with overall turbomachinary systems design and integration. Kalonji was the Chief Advanced Aero-Propulsion Engineer and Designer of the concept of the hypersonic airplane Leopard HBJ (Hypersonic Business Jet) under the HYVEC Project in 2008.


By 2006 SonicBlue Aerospace, Inc. (SonicBlue), is an aerospace and defense company focused on the development and commercialization of vertical take-off and landing, transonic and supersonic aircraft, for flight across all environments now accessible to aircraft. SonicBlue has developed technologies and intellectual property in new hybrid jet/electric vertical take-off and landing propulsion systems, energy generation, high-speed aerodynamics, advanced composite structures and related technologies.

The hybrid propulsion system incorporates existing gas turbine powerplant technology engineered to provide integrated high power electric generation for vertical lift, and converts to vectored jet thrust for high-speed horizontal flight, allowing the aircraft to achieve the best of both worlds in point-to-point jet travel at supersonic speeds. The capability of both high speed flight and all terrain operation is a combination never before present in a production aircraft, and will enable civilian and military customers to satisfy needs that no other aircraft has been ever able to address.

The SonicBlue has management and technical design teams based in Maine and Southern California. In addition SonicBlue has supporting engineering groups in Langley, Va., and Great Britain specializing in VTOL, advanced computational aerodynamics, supersonic aerodynamics, simulation and integrated design optimization; Boston, Mass., specializing in high power energy generation, electromagnetic, power and thermal management; and Arlington, Va., specializing in powered lift systems, engineering, design, optimization and integration.

As of 2006 SonicBlue Aerospace had a four-year phased development for its VTOL Unmanned Combat Hybrid Armed Vehicle (UCHAV) military program, the first of its kind to provide an integrated high-speed hybrid propulsion and directed energy weapons platform UAV system. The company planned to come to market with its six-to-eight-seat supersonic, VTOL hybrid business jet in a five-year phased development program, with first flight in 2010, and in-flight service as early as 2014.


By 2011, the company was focused on development of SonicStar, a supersonic bizjet, minus the VTOL component. With specific fuel consumption below 1.05 at long range cruise of Mach 3.1, made possible by the S-MAGJET hybrid gas turbine engine technology, SonicStar enables travel faster than ever before, turning the impossible into the possible. Its visionary technology overcomes the economic and environmental challenges of supersonic flight to revolutionise travel and drive air transportation forward into the future.

No more time consuming long haul flights, in an aircraft cruising at Mach 3.1 with a range of 6,000nm, SonicStar will provide the ultimate in luxury high speed travel. Made possible by the supersonic hybrid electric gas turbine propulsion system SonicBlue S-MAGJET Hybrid Supersonic 4000-X Series engine, designed specifically for commercial supersonic air travel and exclusively for SonicStar. The 54,700 thrust class S-MAGJET engine (two engines) described is optimised to fly the HyperMach SonicStar aircraft at 62,000 ft, at a specific fuel consumption below 1.05 at Mach 3.3, this performance will be unprecedented and will welcome in a new era aerospace transport.

HyperMach was demonstrating key technologies that will reduce the sonic boom over land, it will set the stage for the company to provide SonicStar with the solution to sonic boom and will position it as the leader in the next generation supersonic aircraft.

The SonicBlue S-MAGJET hybrid engine [United States Patent 8,446,060, May 21, 2013] is a true hybrid. It generates massive electrical power on board using the companies proprietary integrated turbine electromagnetic generation technology to segment each engine rotating component stage electrically. Every stage from bypass fans to compressor to turbine, rotates independently of the other. This segmentation enables the engine to change the operating speeds of its rotating components continually throughout the flight to respond to the changing conditions of the atmosphere and the flight and performance demands of the aircraft. Along with the S-MAGJET plasma fuel combustion technology this will result in a 40%-50% increase in the ability of the engine to convert fuel to thrust.

A single improvement in fuel efficiency of this magnitude has never before been achieved; if applied industry-wide, these improvements would result in a 30% - 35% reduction in fuel use at design point supersonic speeds. A by-product of burning 30% less fuel minimally will be a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions, and a 45% reduction in NOX emissions from the engine. Nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and particulates; and all will be reduced in the SonicBlue S-MAGJET design.

The topology today of mechanically linked gas turbines to connect the bypass fan to compressor to the power turbine is very limited as all the stages of the compressor are connected together to one spool or more which is connected to the power turbine, hence driving the compressor. If the stages of the bypass fan and compressor could be individually segmented from each other, and subsequently from the power turbine, and the power turbine stages segmented also, dramatic increases in thrust and efficiency are possible, as then all the desired stages of the gas turbine can be run at the optimal speed for mass flow air velocity, temperature, air density (altitude) and flight Mach number.

With a magnetic advanced gas-turbine transmission with radial aero nanomagnetic-drive (MAGTRAN), some or all of the turbomachine rotors containing turbomachinery (aerodynamic vanes or airfoils for thrust, compression and/or air flow velocity control and expansion) are uncoupled mechanically, and are coupled instead electromagnetically, allowing the turbomachinery components to rotate at different speeds and in different directions, and at the exact optimal speed at any given time, for a given flight condition. Rotational forces are provided by magnetic fields of high strength and torque density, and magnetic flux, from permanent magnets and electromagnets in axial and radial architectures. Such magnetic transmission topology is as strong, or stronger, than mechanical spooled systems in gas turbine engines. In a turbine implementation, the power generated in the turbine is provided to the compressor, fan, and auxiliary systems via a magnetic drive train in which the torque to each component is transmitted with magnetic fields instead of through direct mechanical attachments. In this way, each turbomachine stage can be operated at the exact ideal operating condition.


Maximum Cruise SpeedMach 3.6
Long Range CruiseMach 3.1
High Speed CruiseMach 3.4
Maximum Take-off Weight155,000 lb
Basic Operating Weight80,000 lb
Maximum Fuel75,000 lb
Engines Two SonicBlue S-MAGJET Hybrid
Supersonic 4000-X Series
Thrust Flat rated to 54,700 lb.
Wing Area 1800 sq. ft
Approach Speed140 Kts
Balanced Field Length9000 ft
Landing Distance4800 ft
Range (IFR)6000 nm
Ceiling62,000 ft
CabinFull Galley Forward, Lavatories aft
Overall Length64 m
Height at Maximum2.6 m
Width at Maximum 2.7 m


The HyperMach Aerospace Industries team subsequently developed an aircraft concept, HyperStar, capable of supersonic flight at a speed of Mach 4.0. HyperStar, tackles the combined requirements of speed, reduced emissions and low overland noise, effectively ushering in a new dawn in aviation history.

HyperStar is a true aviation first, meaning no more time-consuming long-haul flights: able to fly from London to Sydney in less than an afternoon. Based on HyperMachs unique design, with built-in Mach 4.0 performance capabilities it will provide the ultimate in luxury high-speed air travel. And its all made possible by HyperMachs integration of next generation supersonic hybrid electric gas turbine engine technology.

For years, innovation in supersonic technology has been curbed by understandably stringent regulations on the level of aircraft noise permitted over land. But now all that is about to change. HyperStar uses ground-breaking technology, allowing aerodynamics to be controlled and effectively eliminating the problem of sonic boom at very high speeds. Aerodynamic drag, skin friction and aerothermodynamic heating are significantly reduced a worldwide first for aerospace, and one that changes the course of supersonic flight forever.

Richard Lugg said in November 2012 "Since partnering with Eagle Harbor Technologies at the Paris Airshow in June 2011 HyperMach and Eagle Harbor have completed critical data analysis. Eagle Harbor have integrated their plasma and aerodynamic codes into the HyperMach / Aeronautical Testing Service Inc aerodynamic model of SonicStar and generated an initial simulation showing that it is possible to manage the shock wave at the bow of the aircraft."

The plasma injector works by modifying the turbulent viscous skin layer surrounding supersonic vehicles to reduce the mach wave shock front and resulting turbulence. Founded in 2006, Eagle Harbor Technologies (EHT) provides innovative solutions to the commercial and research markets for technologies relating to pulsed power applications; advanced plasma sources for laboratory, industrial, and materials science applications; fusion energy technologies; and computationally intensive plasma physics simulations. EHT has had research and development contracts through the following government agencies: Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, United States Air Force, and the United States Navy.

Eagle Harbor Technologies provides innovative solutions to the commercial and research markets for technologies relating to pulsed power applications, high voltage nanosecond pulse generation, advanced plasma sources for laboratory, industrial, and materials science applications, and fusion energy technologies. EHT personnel have a unique skill set and can provide full system solutions in pulsed power design, plasma source and experimental plasma physics design and research, and advanced plasma diagnostics.

The company focused on commercial aircraft in the low supersonic regime e.g. Mach 1-3.

  • Shock wave mitigation.
  • Drag reduction (+90%).
  • Decreased environmental impact of supersonic aircraft in the form of sonic-boom mitigation.
  • Fuel efficiency (10:1 return ratio).
  • Reduced ablation/heat resistance requirements of critical surfaces and components.

As vehicles travel beyond the speed of sound, a bow shock forms and these shocks cause increased drag, sonic boom and high temperatures & pressures. The solution is to inject plasma to rapidly heat an extended path ahead of the shock wave. A long, hot, low-density core is created through the rapid expansion of the hot plasma. The vehicles bow shock expands into the core, followed by the vehicle itself. The shock bows as the core provides a route for the high pressure front to escape around the vehicle, reducing the shock strength. The shock bows as the core provides a route for the high pressure front to escape around the aircraft. Ideally: increase wave speed in the core above the speed of the aircraft. Allows for forward jets to dissipate pressure around the vehicle.

A NASA SBIR Phase I for $124,973 was awarded to Eagle for 6 months of work (May 23rd-November 23rd, 2013). The benefits of Plasma Aerodynamics are: shock wave mitigation, drag reduction of up to 90% and plasma steering (the vehicle will preferentially fly along the low density channel). Fuel efficiency is increased (by 10:1 return ratio) and there is a reduction in the requirement for heat-resistant critical surfaces and components. It is possible to create faster, more durable and more maneuverable systems designed around the payload and most importantly achieve a reduction in the impact of sonic-boom.

Methods to reduce the turbulent viscous skin friction stand out as paramount to increasing the energy efficiency, and therefore the aerodynamic efficiency of supersonic aircraft. Eagle Harbor Technology (EHT) proposed to develop and optimize a MHD plasma injector, which will be used to efficiently reduce the viscous skin friction in supersonic aircraft. EHT had developed similar MHD plasma injection technologies, which have been applied to a number of different fusion energy science, aerospace thruster, and basic research investigations. Here, Eaagle computationally investigated and verified the dominant physical mechanisms for MHD plasma drag reduction; develop a proof of concept plasma injector demo, which conformed to necessary power and efficiency requirements for an onboard flight-relevant system; and use insights gained through our computational investigations to optimize the performance of the MHD plasma injector for maximum aerodynamic efficiency. This investigation will focus on flight-relevant Reynolds and magnetic Reynolds numbers at low supersonic (Mach 3) speeds.

Phase II research, which was not funeded, would have coupled the plasma injector to a scale model airframe for detailed in-situ supersonic wind tunnel testing. The phase II research would produce a fully realized working plasma injector prototype that conform to power requirements of an on-board power system.

By the end of 2016 HyperMach had once again revised the aircrafts specifications upward, to a top speed of Mach 5 at 80,000 feet and 7,000-nm range. In late 2012, it boosted the SSBJs top speed estimate to Mach 4.5 and range to 6,500 nm from its original Mach 3.6 and 6,000 nm, when it announced the project at the 2011 Paris Airshow. It also increased the size of the airplane in late 2012 to seat up to 36 passengers from the initial 20.

First flight of the HyperStar is now expected in 2025, with certification and entry into service slated to follow in 2028. Both estimates are three years later than what was announced previously. HyperMach has begun to take orders for its SSBJ, and Lugg said he soon expects to close the companys first multi-aircraft unit order with a leading global private charter firm. Initial price of the HyperStar is $180 million, though that was slated to escalate to $220 million sometime before the Paris Airshow in June 2016.

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Page last modified: 29-01-2017 17:00:00 ZULU