Lockheed partners on supersonic business jet

AS2 design advances with new engine configuration. Aerion has refined the aircraft design.
Previously, three engines were grouped in the rear. The refined configuration still incorporates 3 engines, however the two outboard engines are now pulled forward, under the wing, while the 3rd remains in the tail. This configuration with 18,000-pound thrust turbofan engines, improves weight, balance, systems layout, maintainability, and simplifies some certification requirements. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com)
AS2 design advances with new engine configuration. Aerion has refined the aircraft design. Previously, three engines were grouped in the rear. The refined configuration still incorporates 3 engines, however the two outboard engines are now pulled forward, under the wing, while the 3rd remains in the tail. This configuration with 18,000-pound thrust turbofan engines, improves weight, balance, systems layout, maintainability, and simplifies some certification requirements. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com) (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com/Hand-out)
AS2 interior carries 12 in large-business-jet comfort up to 5,400 nautical miles (6,215 statute miles/10,000 km). Max. cruise speed is Mach 1.4, about 55 percent faster than today’s fastest commercial jets, at a speed greater than 1,000 mph/1,600 kph. The AS2 saves as much as three hours across the Atlantic and more than five hours across the Pacific. Aerion is working with Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation to develop the AS2. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com)
AS2 interior carries 12 in large-business-jet comfort up to 5,400 nautical miles (6,215 statute miles/10,000 km). Max. cruise speed is Mach 1.4, about 55 percent faster than today’s fastest commercial jets, at a speed greater than 1,000 mph/1,600 kph. The AS2 saves as much as three hours across the Atlantic and more than five hours across the Pacific. Aerion is working with Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation to develop the AS2. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com) (Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com/Hand-out)
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AS2 design advances with new engine configuration. Aerion has refined the aircraft design.
Previously, three engines were grouped in the rear. The refined configuration still incorporates 3 engines, however the two outboard engines are now pulled forward, under the wing, while the 3rd remains in the tail. This configuration with 18,000-pound thrust turbofan engines, improves weight, balance, systems layout, maintainability, and simplifies some certification requirements. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com)
AS2 interior carries 12 in large-business-jet comfort up to 5,400 nautical miles (6,215 statute miles/10,000 km). Max. cruise speed is Mach 1.4, about 55 percent faster than today’s fastest commercial jets, at a speed greater than 1,000 mph/1,600 kph. The AS2 saves as much as three hours across the Atlantic and more than five hours across the Pacific. Aerion is working with Lockheed Martin and GE Aviation to develop the AS2. (PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Com)

WASHINGTON — Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding with Las Vegas-based Aerion Corporation that could bring a supersonic business jet Aerion has been developing to market within seven years.

Aerion has developed advanced aerodynamics and structural designs of its AS2 through a previous engineering collaboration agreement with Airbus. That led to Aerion’s preliminary wing and airframe designs, systems layout and preliminary fly-by-wire flight control system for the AS2.

Under the one-year Lockheed partnership, the two will develop a framework for further development of the AS2, including engineering, certification and production.

“Following our initial review of Aerion’s aerodynamic technology, our conclusion is that the Aerion AS2 concept warrants the further investment of our time and resources,” said Orlando Carvalho, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aerodynamics.

Separately, Bloomberg News reported Friday that Aerion would sell up to $200 million in debt to fund the jet’s design phase.

Earlier this year, Aerion signed an agreement with GE Aviation for a supersonic engine for the AS2.

The 12-passenger AS2 is expected to have a maximum over water speed of Mach 1.4 and 1.2 over land without a sonic boom reaching the ground.  It would reduce trans-Atlantic trips by as much as three hours.

Aerion already has interest in the supersonic business jet. Two years ago, fractional fleet operator Flexjet placed an order for 20 of them.

Aerion expects the AS2’s first flight in 2023 and certification in 2025.


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