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Aerion says first supersonic passenger jet since Concorde ready by 2023

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AERION Supersonic says it is on track to see its first passenger jet hurtle across the Pacific faster than the speed of sound in 2023 — 20 years after the last flight of the Concorde.

 

The company, which is working in collaboration with Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation, announced this week that it had concluded the conceptual design phase of its AS2 supersonic 12-seater jet and started preliminary design.

 

Aerion expects its 12-passenger jet to cruise at Mach 1.4 and save travellers as much as three hours across the Atlantic and five hours across the Pacific.

 

While initially targeted at corporations as a supersonic business jet, airlines are also showing interest for small fleets to cater for their top-end high flyers.

 

It hopes to have it certified by 2025.

 

“We’re on track to fly in 2023, and before that year is out to cross the Atlantic at supersonic speed, which will be the first supersonic crossing since the Concorde’s retirement 20 years earlier,” Aerion chief executive Tom Vice said.

 

“Aerion and our AS2 industry team, comprised of Lockheed Martin, GE Aviation, and Honeywell, have solved many of the tremendous challenges in creating a supersonic renaissance.

 

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Inside Aerion’s supersonic jet.Picture: Aerion

 

“We’ve overcome some huge technical hurdles and we’re confident we’ll meet Stage 5 take-off and landing noise requirements. We’ve made strides in structures and systems.”

 

Aerion has not ruled out making a small commercial airliner in the longer term.

 

“A next generation beyond the AS2, based on further adaptation of current engine technology, could take us from the AS2’s speed of Mach 1.4 to Mach 1.6, and could serve as a larger cabin, longer-range business jet and small airliner,’’ Mr Vice said.

 

A number of companies, including US-based Boom Supersonic, are looking at supersonic flight after a long hiatus.

 

Japan Airlines and Boom last year announced a strategic partnership to bring commercial supersonic travel to passengers with a commitment to 20, 55-passenger supersonic jets.

 

The agreement will see JAL provide its knowledge and experience as an airline to support Boom in developing the Mach 2.2 aircraft.

 

 

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