Aerion Unveils Larger, Three - Engine Supersonic Business Jet

  • May 22, 2014 5:13pm GMT
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Geneva, Switzerland, EBACE

-- Aerion Corporation, the leader in commercial supersonic technology, today introduced a larger configuration for the first in a family of supersonic business jets. The company is growing its technical organization and preparing to enter into industrial collaborations aimed at launching a new era of supersonic flight.

The Aerion AS2 retains a supersonic natural laminar flow wing, the key enabling technology behind practical and efficient supersonic and high-subsonic flight. The aircraft has a larger cabin, with cross-section dimensions roughly equivalent to those of today’s long-range business jets. It also has a trijet configuration that confers a number of benefits, especially for runway performance, external noise properties, and maximum range.

The new configuration draws heavily on worldwide operator input.

According to Aerion CEO Doug Nichols: “The message from many of today’s long-range business jet operators is very clear: They want a supersonic jet sooner rather than later; a cabin comparable in comfort to today’s long-range jets; a range of 5,000 nm or better; and they are willing to pay more than $100 million for such an aircraft. That is the supersonic jet we are working to deliver.”

A new market survey

In the first quarter of 2014, Aerion completed its third market study in ten years to assess demand for a supersonic business jet, as well as the basic parameters of the most preferable configuration. That study, conducted by Roland Vincent Associates, confirmed a consistent level of demand for more than 600 units over 20 years, although with a desire for a larger cabin and more range.

One difference from the earliest market research study in 2005 was the incorporation of on-line and face-to-face interviews from long-range jet operators based in markets around the world. The initial study surveyed mainly U.S. operators. “In the latest study, we analyzed a number of design trade-offs to determine the optimum aircraft,” said Vincent. “We interviewed more than 130 operators of large cabin jets on-line and conducted 28 face-to-face interviews in the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Asia.”

“The bottom line,” according to Vincent, “is that the desire for supersonic transportation is steady and strong. The buyers are there. Their biggest question is, when can we have one?”

Aerion’s answer is that such an aircraft would be available in about five years from a formal program launch with industrial collaborators in the aerospace industry. The company anticipates certification in or about 2021.

A bigger and better supersonic flight experience

The Aerion AS2 is a three-engine jet and is larger than the originally conceived Aerion supersonic business jet. Fuselage length is 160 feet and maximum takeoff weight is 115,000 pounds. Minimum projected range is 4,750 nautical miles with the intention to achieve a range of more than 5,000 nautical miles.