Aerion Corporation has just announced that it has signed a partnership with Lockheed Martin to develop its supersonic AS2 business jet.
The American defense giant takes over from Airbus at the side of the startup to help him develop a supersonic that will compete with business jets thanks to its supersonic speed and a range of action that will allow him to make a Los Angeles / Paris of one go.
After Airbus, Lookheed-Martin comes to help Aerion
SR-71, F-16, F-22, F-35, Lockheed-Martin and its design office Skunk Works has produced some of the most legendary aircraft of the American Air Force. Created in 2002, Aerion Corporation is looking to build the AS2, an 8/12 seat aircraft capable of flying at Mach 1.4. In order to achieve this particularly ambitious goal for a company that has never before designed airplanes, the startup has powerful support. This is particularly the case for GE, General Electric, which is working on a key element in the success of the operation, the aircraft engines. Another key partner for Aerion, Airbus. The European aircraft manufacturer’s engineers helped the startup design the AS2’s wing and fuselage structure, as well as the draft electronic flight controls (fly-by-wire). Airbus is therefore giving up its place in the adventure to Lockheed-Martin, who is assisting Aerion’s engineers for 12 months, knowing that the project is now entering a critical phase. A first wooden layout was built in order to validate the design choices of the future aircraft, it is now necessary to enter the advanced design phase and build the first prototype. The initial objective is to make a first flight in 2023 and obtain FAA certification in 2025. For the time being, Aerion can rely on an order book of 20 copies from Flexnet, a split-mode business jet manager.
Boom Supersonic targets bigger
In this race towards the future supersonic civil plane, Aerion is competing with Boom Supersonic, another American startup who wants to fly a prototype of reduced size from 2018. Boom is working on a larger aircraft than the AS2 as he will have to board 45 to 55 passengers. This market positioning, which is quite different from that of Aerion, enabled the American company to build up an order book of 76 copies from airlines, mainly Virgin Atlantic and Japan Airlines.
Everything will be decided at the time of the first flights of the prototypes and when it will be necessary to launch the industrialisation of these small Concorde, unless an aeronautical manufacturer gets his hands on these projects.
Source: “Aerion and Lockheed Martin Join Forces to Develop World’s First Supersonic Business Jet”, Aerion Corporation press release, 15 December 2017.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator