In this paper we consider limits of achievable performance for a class of scramjet-powered hypersonic aircraft. A simple 3-DOF model is used to illustrate the main ideas. The vehicle is characterized by unstable and non-minimum phase dynamics. The limitations introduced by the right-half plane zero and actuator saturation on achievable trajectories has been examined. In addition, we examine several vehicle configurations and consider fundamental limitations for the plant and closed loop performance. An optimization methodology that explicitly incorporates performance specifications into the design of vehicle is explored. The advantages of such an approach is illustrated with examples.