A strategic bomber is a mid-to-long range heavy bomber aircraft designed to drop large amounts of ordnance onto a distant target for the purposes of debilitating an enemy's capacity to wage war. Unlike tactical bombers and ground attack aircraft, which are used in air interdiction operations to attack troops and military equipment, strategic bombers are built to fly into an enemy's heartland to destroy strategic targets, e.g. major military installations, factories and cities. In addition to strategic bombing, strategic bombers can be used for tactical missions. The United States, Russia and China (leased from Russia) maintain strategic bombers.
Most modern fighter aircraft are supersonic, but there have been supersonic passenger aircraft, namely Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. Both these passenger aircraft and some modern fighters are also capable of supercruise, a condition of sustained supersonic flight without the use of an afterburner.
Due to its ability to supercruise for several hours and the relatively high frequency of flight over several decades, Concorde spent more time flying supersonically than all other aircraft combined by a considerable margin. Since Concorde's final retirement flight on November 26, 2003, there are no supersonic passenger aircraft left in service. Some large bombers, such as the Tupolev Tu-160 and Rockwell/Boeing B-1B are also supersonic-capable.
The sound source has now broken through the sound speed barrier, and is traveling at 1.4 times the speed of sound, c (Mach 1.4). Since the source is moving faster than the sound waves it creates, it actually leads the advancing wavefront. The sound source will pass by a stationary observer before the observer actually hears the sound it creates.
- vapor cone
- Hypersonic speed
- Transonic speed
- Sonic boom
- Whitcomb area rule
- Supersonic airfoils
- Supersonic aircraft