Sapphire is uniquely suitable for sensor windows of electro-optical systems due to its high transparency, high mechanical strength, and chemical inactivity. Unfortunately, these same characteristics also cause polishing of sapphire windows to be extremely difficult and slow. Hence the challenge is to develop a process for affordable production of large area sapphire windows with low-roughness, low-stress and without surface and subsurface damage. Here we report a novel rapid chemical mechanical polishing process that increases the material removal rate during polishing of sapphire by greater than twofold over conventional processes. Such a process can also produce angstrom level surface finish.