A supersonic aircraft can have winglets

Can a supersonic aircraft have winglets?

There are 3 types of drag:

  1. Frictional resistance
  2. Induced resistance
  3. Pulling waves

When flying at low speed, the first two are responsible for the total drag created. The wave resistance is usually neglected because it is much lower compared to others. Winglets are provided to reduce the induced drag.

In the case of the supersonic aircraft, the wave drag creates most of the total drag because the shock wave creates enormous drag. Frictional resistance and wave resistance are proportional to the speed , and the induced drag is inversely proportional to the airspeed. In the case of a supersonic flight, the induced drag will be very low due to the speed, so that it is always neglected.

So yes, winglets are possible in a supersonic aircraft, but decoration rather than useful. And most of the supersonic aircraft are military fighter planes, and fuel efficiency is not a priority in the military

Incidentally, this answer comes from a Quora question that was found with a quick Google search.


Are induced drag and wave resistance not normal?

Hugo Woesthuis

Let me change it to General dag


Is he a senior military officer? A certain term would be more appropriate, such as frictional drag.

Hugo Woesthuis

I'll change it, thanks for the tip;)


But the anti-satellite variant of the Mig-31 (and XB70?) Has winglets. So what about use cases other than drag reduction?