Atlanta-based startup Hermeus has unveiled its first autonomous high-speed aircraft. The company has unveiled a full-scale prototype of its first aircraft Quarterhorse. Hermeus brought together a diverse group of investors, industry leaders, military and government officials, researchers, and local civic associations – all the stakeholders who can make hypersonic flight a reality. This included some special guest speakers, legendary entrepreneur and investor Vinod Khosla and Brigadier General Jason Lindsey. A major emphasis of the night was to highlight progress being made on hardware development and integration.
Hermeus Corporation is an American startup company with the long-term vision of transforming the global human transportation network with Mach 5. The company was founded in 2018 and received an initial round of funding led by Khosla Ventures. Mach 5, travel is not just supersonic, it’s hypersonic. At these speeds – over 3,000 miles per hour – flight times from New York to London will be 90 minutes rather than seven hours. Mach 5 aircraft have the potential to create an additional four trillion dollars of global economic growth per year, unlocking significant resources that can be utilized to solve the world’s great problems.
In August 2020, Hermeus received a $1.5 million contract from the United States Air Force to develop their proposed aircraft to enter and serve the American presidential fleet in the future and function as a possible Air Force One. The aircraft would be a derivative of Exosonic’s 70-seat Mach 1.8 airliner that the company is hoping to roll out in 2025. The contract will support Exosonic’s efforts to develop and modify the company’s commercial supersonic airliner to serve as an executive transport vehicle. These modifications will include reconfiguring the aircraft cabin that allow U.S. leaders and their guests to work and rest onboard the aircraft.
In August, the Air Force awarded a $1.5 million contract to Hermeus, which is proposing a Mach 5 commercial aircraft. As with the Exosonic contract, Hermeus will use the money to adapt its design for executive transport. Meanwhile, the next two VC-25 aircraft, the replacement for the Boeing 747-400s normally referred to as Air Force One, are currently in pieces and in the process of being rebuilt to meet presidential transport requirements. That includes the installation of air stairs, medical facilities, security, system and other modifications.