TOKYO - Japan and France are jointly developing a new supersonic passenger plane to succeed the retired Concorde, but with up to three times as many
seats and the potential to fly the Tokyo-to-New York route in six hours, officials and reports said Wednesday.
Defense contractors and engineering companies from the two countries are expected to split an annual investment of about 200 million yen ($1.84
million) for research over the next three years to build the faster-than-sound plane, Japan's Trade Ministry said in a statement. The agreement was
signed at the Paris Air Show Tuesday.
The Japanese companies will include Japan Aircraft Development Corp., a non-profit consortium, government's space agency Japan Aerospace Exploration
Agency, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. and Ishikawajima- Harima Heavy Industries Co.
Details on French participants were not available.
The cooperation opens the possibility of reducing by half the flight time between New York and Tokyo to six hours on an aircraft with 300 seats —
three times the capacity of the Concorde, according to media reports and officials Wednesday.
Amid intensifying global competition for dominance in next-generation planes, "Japan has won itself a major role in the push toward aerospace
development," the Mainichi newspaper said in an analysis. But it added that doubts remain whether Japan has the technology to make a supersonic jet
Japan has been working since 2002 to develop a 250-seater supersonic jet capable of flying at mach 1.6, but the partnership with France would help
raise those ambitions, a Japan Aircraft Development Corporation official said.
Officials hope to have the new jet in operation by 2015, flying up to 2.4 times the speed of sound, the Mainichi said.
is it possible maybe in the future, all the passenger planes may all be supersonic as some may predict or just another concorde again?