In an always-changing era of technological advances and breakthroughs, it comes as no surprise that the massive aeronautics titan that is Lockheed Martin is partnering with Aerion Corporation to assist them in the development of the AS2 Supersonic Business Jet.
This joint venture between the defense contractor and the aircraft start-up will spend the next year 2018 developing the framework, with Lockheed overseeing all the steps, from development to the design and engineering of the prototype, FAA certification… And of course, mass production of the aircraft.
The AS2, the Worlds first Supersonic Private jet, would fit 12 passengers and reach the cruising speed of Mach 1.4 and would have an operational range of 4200 nautical miles, roughly the distance between New York and Milan. His impressive speed will match that of Lockheed’s F-22, which may be why the folks over at Lockheed sees this as a possible military application. While commercial airliners fly around 575 miles per hour, the AS2 would almost double that speed at 1.200 miles per hour.
Aerion chairman Robert M. Bass said in a joint statement of the two companies that he believes that the relationship between Aerion and Lockheed is the fundamental key to creating a supersonic renaissance. He goes on to say that when it comes to Supersonic capabilities Lockheed Martin’s achievements are legendary. He hopes that this would be the first step in a long-term commitment between the two companies for the development of more civil supersonic aircrafts.
Founded in 2003 in Reno, Nevada, Aerion is one of a handful of aerospace start-up leading the supersonic revolution and proof of that is the AS2 that the company has been designing for over a decade. However a prototype is yet to build and in fact, Aerion hasn’t built an aeroplane. Which is why the partnership with Lockheed Martin is crucial for them.
Aerion hopes to finish the prototype and achieve first flight by 2023 and bring the AS2 into the market by 2025, so there is still a long wait before we actually get to see the AS2 brake the sound barrier.
This presents a great opportunity for Lockheed Martin to get back into the commercial aviation industry with the help of the AS2, let’s remember, that Martin hasn’t been part of this industry since 1980’s with the retirement of Lockheed’s L-1011 Tri-Star.
They are, however, massive titans in the warplane industry, responsible for the F-22 and F-35 and of course the legendary Mach 3 Blackbird SR-71.
The AS2 would be the first supersonic business jet and the first commercial supersonic jet since 2003 with the retirement of the legendary Concorde.
Aerion has also announced a partnership with GE to developt supersonic engine designs for the AS2, and according to the responsible of GE, they have already completed an engine design for the jet.
Due to the major accident’s caused by the Concorde and other supersonic vessels, regulations prohibit supersonic speeds over land, which means the AS2 would only break the barrier once it enters international waters.