Supersonic Transport Race

Archive Report

Progress of American Supersonic Program

Pending Decisions on Future of the Project

Plans to develop an american supersonic airliner have received new impetus from the disclosure that this country has secretly developed and tested a 2,000-mile-an-hour warplane. President Johnson revealed at his news conference, Feb. 29, that the advanced experimental aircraft—known as the A-11—had been tested in sustained flight at that speed. Technical lessons learned from the plane, he said, would greatly assist development of supersonic commercial transport aircraft.1 Less encouraging was the announcement by Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara on March 5 that the XB-70, a 2,000-mile-an-hour bomber much closer in size and complexity to a commercial supersonic plane, was encountering “severe technical difficulties.” Flight of the first XB-70 is already 18 months behind schedule.

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