Aerion and Lockheed Martin announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to define a formal and gated process to explore the feasibility of a joint development of the world’s first supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2. Over the next 12 months, the companies will work together to develop a framework on all phases of the program, including engineering, certification and production.
When it comes to supersonic know-how, Lockheed Martin’s capabilities are well known, and, in fact, legendary. The MOU is the result of extensive discussions between Aerion and Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works® Advanced Development Programs team. For close to 75 years, Skunk Works has existed to create revolutionary aircraft that push the boundaries of what is possible.
Lockheed Martin, known for developing the world’s leading supersonic combat aircraft, the F-16, the F-35, and F-22, as well as the Mach 3+ SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, is committed to fostering new innovations and developing supersonic technologies with civil and commercial applications.
During the last two and a half years, Aerion advanced the aerodynamics and structural design of the AS2 through a previous engineering collaboration agreement with Airbus. Through that effort, the two companies developed a preliminary design of wing and airframe structures, systems layout, and preliminary concepts for a fly-by-wire flight control system.
In May 2017, GE Aviation announced an agreement with Aerion to define a supersonic engine for the AS2. The latest announcement with Lockheed Martin further positions Aerion as the leader in the nascent sector of civil supersonic aviation.
The 12-passenger AS2 is expected to fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.4 over water, about 55 percent faster than today’s fastest commercial jets, at a speed greater than 1,000 mph/1,600 kph.Where permitted by regulation, at speeds approaching Mach 1.2 without a sonic boom reaching the ground.
Thanks to its unique supersonic natural laminar flow wing, the aircraft is expected to achieve long range (LA to Paris) and efficiency at supersonic and subsonic speeds. The AS2 saves as much as three hours across the Atlantic and more than five hours across the Pacific. Once fielded, it will reduce trans-Atlantic trips by as much as three hours, enabling business leaders to fly roundtrip between New York and London in a day.
In November 2015, Aerion announced a fleet order from fractional aircraft fleet operator Flexjet for 20 AS2 aircraft. Aerion expects the AS2’s first flight in 2023 and certification in 2025.