Hermeus, a 2-year-old aerospace company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, has landed a major U.S. Air Force contract to build the first hypersonic airplane intended to be part of the presidential fleet.
The company received the contract after successfully designing, building, and testing a prototype of an engine it could use to boost an airplane into hypersonic speed at nearly 3,300 miles per hour.
By comparison, the fastest non-rocket, manned airplane on record is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which reached a top speed of Mach 3.35. The future Air Force One being designed by Hermeus will eclipse Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound.
The company completed its prototype engine tests in March.
According to Skyler Shuford, co-founder and COO of Hermeus, plans call for a demonstrator vehicle to be built in the next five years, with a commercial aircraft ready for flight in about a decade.