Watch and Hear Sonic Boom as an F-35 Lightning II Fighter Jet Explodes Through the Sea's Sound Barrier
On the deck of a ship, onlookers congregate with their phones and cameras ready. It's obvious that the audience is waiting for something to appear in the sky.
We quickly learn what all the excitement is about. Off in the distance, we see a fast-approaching aircraft.
We observe a vapour cloud erupting around an F-35 Lightning II fighter plane from a considerable distance away, signalling humid conditions low in the sky and close to the water.
Then, the plane soars by at an above-sound speed. Only the aircraft's engines are audible to observers until the jet has passed and the shock wave that followed it passes across their area.
As it gains speed, a huge cone of vapour that resembles an eruption around the aeroplane starts to envelop it.
That is a sonic boom, we are frequently informed in animated captions. Except, it isn’t — or at least, not quite," the explanation adds.
However, the cones are typically captured at speeds just below the speed of sound despite the fact that the conditions that give rise to the vapour cone all point toward breaching the sound barrier.