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NASA denies talks with Japan on supersonic jet

NASA and US aeronautics giant Boeing denied on Tuesday holding talks with Japan's space agency to develop a supersonic jet.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 09:06 IST

NASA and US aeronautics giant Boeing denied on Tuesday holding talks with Japan's space agency to develop a supersonic jet to succeed the defunct Anglo-French Concorde.

"It's my understanding there is no discussion on that at this time with the Japanese," said Melissa Mathews, a spokeswoman with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Mathews and a Boeing spokeswoman, Debbie Nomaguchi, said separately that they were "not aware of any plan" to discuss a project on a supersonic jet.

The Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun, without naming its sources, reported on Sunday that Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NASA would work out in June details of a joint program to develop a low-noise, fuel-efficient supersonic jet.

The two sides would then launch joint research on the project sometime in coming months, the newspaper said.

The daily added that the space agencies planned to form a consortium with several Japanese aerospace makers and Boeing.

Japan already agreed with France last year on conducting joint research on supersonic transport, and the new project with the United States would help further propel its drive into the global aviation market, it said.

Japanese companies succeeded last year in flying a small supersonic jet prototype on a trial basis, prompting the US side to sound them out on the joint project, according to the Nihon Keizai.

There has been no supersonic jet in commercial service since Concorde bowed out in late 2003 after nearly 28 years in the skies.

The Japanese side reportedly aims to develop a plane that would travel at the same speed as the Concorde but would produce just one percent of the noise.

Japan hopes to put on the market in about 2020 a supersonic jetliner with a capacity of 200-300 seats that could travel between Tokyo and Los Angeles in five hours -- about half the current flight time.

Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd are among the Japanese partners for the project with the United States, the Nihon Keizai said.