The paper discusses those technical aspects of a supersonic civil transport aircraft which peculiarly distinguish it from conventional subsonic civil aircraft. The physical, economic and ecological environments in which the supersonic transport must operate are considered and the main stepping stones to the development of the supersonic transport are traced. It shows that the basic differences between the supersonic transport and subsonic transports can be traced to two causes-the high-temperature environment and the disparity between subsonic and supersonic aerodynamics. The considerations which lead to the choice of speed, configuration and powerplant are considered and some details of their impact on specific areas are discussed. Finally, Concorde is used to illustrate the development of a practical supersonic transport and the development, from both theory and experiment, of the practical parameters and features for such a vehicle.