Virgin Galactic is working on supersonic jet that can reach Sydney in five hours

Virgin Galactic has revealed designs for a supersonic passenger plane capable of flying three times the speed of sound.

With a top speed of around 2,300mph (3,700kmh), it could fly from London to Sydney in just five hours – or to New York in less than two.

Virgin has teamed up with engine-maker Rolls-Royce to work on the concept, which is still in the early stages.

The delta-wing jet would cruise at above 60,000ft (18,300m), far higher than current passenger planes, but would only have room for nine to 19 passengers.

The delta wing design is similar to the iconic shape of Concorde. Pic: Virgin Galactic

The project is separate from Virgin’s bid to send customers to the edge of space to experience weightlessness – which has already completed a number of test flights using the SpaceshipTwo craft.

Supersonic passenger flights stopped when Concorde retired in October 2003 and no one has so far plugged the gap for ultra-fast air travel.

Virgin said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Rolls-Royce “to collaborate in designing and developing engine propulsion technology for high speed commercial aircraft” and has also worked with NASA on the concept.

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