With new technology, we have an opportunity to introduce more efficient supersonic aircraft that will find wider markets, first for business jets, and ultimately for airliners. At Aerion, we are starting with a business jet, the AS2, because business aircraft users place a high premium on their time. They buy business jets because they don’t want to be stuck waiting in airports. If they can save hours on every trip with a supersonic jet, they will embrace the opportunity.
Aerion, working with NASA, has tested and proven more efficient aerodynamic designs, especially wing designs. By reducing aerodynamic drag, we are able to reduce fuel consumption and extend range out to 10,000 kilometres—a new level of performance for supersonic aircraft.
New materials such as carbon fibre composites allow us to build structures that were not possible in the past. Modern computing power allows us to run through many more design iterations to find the most efficient shapes, which is exactly what we have done with the sleek AS2.
The AS2 will fly at Mach 1.4, in other words 1.4 times the speed of sound, making it about 60 percent faster than today’s fastest commercial jets.
But the AS2 is only a beginning in a new supersonic era. Initially, we will adapt a popular, current production subsonic engine to meet our performance requirements. As we demonstrate a robust supersonic market with this aircraft, we expect to see more R&D dollars (our own and possibly those of competitors) devoted to supersonic technologies, including new engines capable of higher speeds. Over time, we will approach the Concorde’s Mach 2 performance, but with a far-quieter, more efficient, and more practical aircraft.
Our plan is to have the AS2 in service by 2025, making faster flight times a reality. To accomplish this, we’ve teamed with major industrial partners – GE Aviation for the engine and Lockheed Martin for engineering and production. Both have long experience in supersonic designs for the military – experience that will be invaluable in the design of a civil jet.
The most exciting part of this is that we will draw the world closer together, making far-flung locations easier to reach. That, of course, has been the dream of aviation pioneers since the beginning.
Update: Carbon neutral supersonic air travel?
In July 2020, Aerion announced that it and Carbon Engineering Ltd. (CE), a leading Direct Air Capture (DAC) company, were collaborating to develop solutions for carbon neutral supersonic air travel. The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore ways in which CE’s synthetic fuel – made from carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from the atmosphere, water, and clean electricity – will power Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet.
By partnering, the two technology innovators in mobility and sustainable energy believe they can take a significant step forward in achieving their common goal of building the clean energy transportation networks of the future, while helping to address the climate and energy challenge.
For more information: www.aerionsupersonic.com.
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