TOKYO, May 7 (Reuters) The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and several Japanese firms will launch a joint project with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Boeing Co of the United States to develop a next-generation supersonic passenger aircraft, business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) today reported.
The project, due to start this summer, aims to develop a supersonic jet by around 2020 that could travel at Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound, carrying 200-300 passengers, the daily said.
The Japanese firms involved include Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co Ltd, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, Nikkei said.
Officials were not immediately availble for comment.
The paper said the new jet would make only around one-hundredth of the noise produced by Concorde, the first supersonic jet jointly developed by Britain and France in the 1960s. Concorde was retired in 2003, three years after one of the jets crashed during take-off in Paris in July 2000, killing 113 people.
REUTERS SY RK0914