is an aviation
term. An aircraft
that can supercruise
is able to attain
and maintain supersonic
level flight without using afterburner
s. The first U.S. fighter to supercruise will (theoretically) be the F-22 Raptor Advanced Tactical Fighter
, currently in low-rate production
The SR-71 Blackbird engines were almost entirely afterburning, especially for takeoff. The nacelles themselves (not the J-58 jet engines in them) provided nearly all the thrust at high speeds; the inlet spike and nacelle mouth 'shaped' the airflow into precise shockwaves of high supersonic speed. The fuel burn outside the engine, in the nacelle (afterburner) made the nacelle into a 'near-ram-jet' with the engine mostly getting in the way.
WolfKeeper provides needed correction: the Concorde (and its Soviet counterpart the Tupolev 144) did, in fact, have supercruise. The Concorde, however, used 'low-level augmentation' - essentially, afterburners - during takeoff and in order to accelerate past Mach one - in order to spend as little time as possible in a high-drag flight regime. Although afterburners use more fuel, the ability to quickly traverse these less-efficient flight regimes meant an overall fuel savings, and the Concorde would then turn off reheat and supercruise at its normal Mach two without afterburners.