US aircraft developer starts tests for autonomous supersonic fighter jet

  • Exosonic just completed its first test flight of the unmanned supersonic jet
  • The test flight was done using a miniature model of the aircraft
  • Its initial plans were to develop a civilian supersonic plane

Published on Apr 06, 2024 at 10:30 AM (UTC+4)
by Nalin Rawat

Last updated on Apr 08, 2024 at 7:35 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Siddharth Dudeja

US aircraft developer, Exosonic has started testing a subscale model of their conceptual unmanned supersonic jet.

The company aims to develop for military customers, and they have just completed their first flight-test campaign.

With technology moving more towards automation, it seems we may see many more unmanned fighter jets in the future.

The US Air Force is believed to be developing their next-generation of fighter aircraft and one of them might be an unmanned drone.

READ MORE! Remarkable bird’s eye view of F-18 catapulting from aircraft carrier

The aircraft developer Exosonic has shifted its focus toward military projects, and their current development is a far cry from the civilian supersonic jet that it had pitched several years ago.

Their first supersonic jet flight test included a subscale model that looks like an RC plane.

By the way, if you happen to have about $30,000 lying around, you could buy your very own remote-controlled replica fighter jet.

So long as you’ve got the guts to fly it without crashing, that is.

Back to Exosonic, though.

They have recently completed the first successful flight of the EX-3M Trident high-speed unmanned test aircraft, as the experimental design took to the skies in March.

The test flight took place out on a dry lake bed in Southern California.

According to Exosonic, ‘the autonomous supersonic jet model reached a top speed of over 240km/h (150 mph) at an altitude of roughly 600ft.’

Not quite supersonic, but they’re taking baby steps in the right direction.

If the unmanned supersonic jet is ever produced, it might cost up to millions of dollars just for a single aircraft.

The most advanced aircraft in the US arsenal — the F-35 — is quite expensive, to say the least.

The aircraft developer says this model could also be used as a platform by governments and other commercial players.

Exosonic’s initial plans were to develop a 70-passenger, Mach 1.8 civilian supersonic jet with a range of 5753 miles (9,260 km).

However, it shifted to a military aircraft after landing a 2021 US Air Force (USAF) deal to develop a supersonic unmanned jet.

Other aircraft manufacturers, like NASA and Airbus, are developing their own supersonic planes, meaning that a return to the supersonic realm isn’t impossible for passengers in the not-too-distant future.

So, it might not be long before civilians can experience supersonic flights again, two decades after Concorde’s retirement.


Nalin Rawat

Nalin started his career by working with various national newspapers in India. He has also worked as a writer/editor for many popular websites, while still pursuing his journalism and mass communication degree. Working as a digital nomad has allowed him to inform and educate through his work. When he is not writing, you can find him playing video games or travelling the mountains on his bike.