This article presents a review of key historical contributions, the current status, and future research avenues in support of the development of supersonic aircraft that are sufficiently quiet so that they can be allowed to fly supersonically over land. For this goal to be achievable, in addition to overcoming many other challenges in aerodynamics, structures, propulsion, acoustics, and aeroservoelasticity, the pressure signature created by the aircraft must be such that, when it reaches the ground, () it can barely be perceived by the human ear, and () it results in disturbances to man-made structures that do not exceed the threshold of annoyance for a significant percentage of the population. In other words, the ground-boom signature must meet a number of key constraints that can be appropriately quantified. In designing aircraft with low sonic booms, it is important to understand () how pressure disturbances are generated and how they propagate through the atmosphere, () under which conditions will the pressure signature created by an aircraft evolve to generate an acceptable low-boom signature at the ground, and () what multidisciplinary trade-offs need to be made to realize low-boom aircraft that are also economically and environmentally compliant. This article discusses each of these areas separately, assesses the accomplishments in each topic, identifies significant shortcomings, and suggests future research efforts (some already ongoing) that have the potential to yield solutions to all these issues.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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