AERION MAKES PROGRESS ON SUPERSONIC AS2 BIZJET
Aerion Corp. has completed the conceptual design phase for the AS2 supersonic jet, along with partners Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation and Honeywell. “We’ve overcome some huge technical hurdles, and we’re confident we’ll meet Stage 5 takeoff and landing noise requirements,” says Aerion CEO Tom Vice.
To meet those requirements, GE Aviation has committed to developing a turbofan engine designed specifically for supersonic flight, the GE Affinity. This is a huge step for GE; it will be the first civil supersonic engine to be developed in 55 years.
The fadec-controlled twin-fan engine will have the highest bypass ratio of any supersonic engine. It is designed to reach 60,000 feet and will be able to meet the current regulations for supersonic flight. The AS2 is expected to fly at speeds up to Mach 1.4 and as fast as Mach 1.2 over land without creating a boom that would reach the ground.
Honeywell Aerospace will develop the flight deck for the AS2. With the company’s Primus Epic system installed in about 5,000 business and regional jet platforms and extensive experience in developing systems for supersonic military jets, Honeywell is well positioned to develop a stellar cockpit for the AS2. “This is a fantastic opportunity to pioneer a new segment of aviation with Aerion,” says Honeywell president of electronic solutions Carl Esposito.
The company is now starting the preliminary design phase, and expects to begin initial flight testing of the 12-passenger jet in 2023. The Reno, Nevada-based company hopes to achieve certification for the AS2 in 2025. But Vice says the AS2 is just the first of many aircraft designs for Aerion. “It will be our springboard to larger and faster designs, both for business aviation and commercial airlines,” he says. “Entirely new engine designs hold the potential to build larger aircraft able to fly at Mach 1.8 and above.”