The West

A new supersonic jet is set to replace the out-of-service Concorde (pictured).

Sydney to London in just four hours - that's the hope of aircraft enthusiasts eagerly awaiting details of a new supersonic jet to replace the mothballed Concorde.

NASA is involved in the project, with plans expected to be unveiled at next month's Farnborough air show next month.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Gulfstream are leading the way to build the new supersonic passenger plane which will target the business jet market, according to Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.

All three companies believe they are close to reducing the sonic boom to a sound described by a Gulfstream engineer last week as 'closer to a puff or plop'.

A Gulfstream engineer said: "The fact that the big boys are all close confirms industry rumours that a new generation of supersonic planes is now, finally, within reach."

Lighter composite materials, more advanced engines and smaller fuselages are all being tested.

NASA released images of a test plane in a wind tunnel last January which featured super-thin wings and hidden engines.

A 12-seat Aerion 'Supersonic Business Jet' is also being developed by Robert Bass, a Texas hedge fund trader. They are expected to cost $80m each and are being marketed to wealthy European and Middle Eastern corporations and individuals under the slogan, 'To the USA and back in a working day' according to the Daily Mail. No delivery dates have been set.

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