Aerion AS2 Supersonic Business Jet

The Aerion AS2 is a supersonic business jet that is being developed by Aerion Supersonic. It will be the first supersonic private jet to be available. Aerion Corporation is working on the development of the aircraft and is projecting that the aircraft will be delivered to the first customer in 2027. The company is targeting a speed of Mach 1.4 for the Aerion AS2 jet. That would make it the fastest civil aviation plane that is available for purchase.

Production of the Aerion AS2 supersonic jet is to occur at the company’s yet-to-built headquarters in Melbourne, Florida. Aerion is investing $300 million for the development of its HQ, Aerion Park. Aerion Park will be located on the grounds of Orlando Melbourne International Airport (ICAO: KMLB).

The Aerion AS2 aircraft is expected to be able to fly 4,200 nautical miles when flying at supersonic speeds (Mach 1.4) and 5,400 nautical miles when flying at subsonic speed (Mach 0.95). That range will provide operators global reach with supersonic speeds.

The Aerion AS2 supersonic jet

Above photo of the Aerion AS2 Supersonic Jet is by Aerion. Photo copyright Aerion and used under the fair use provision.

Aerion AS2 History

The origins of the Aerion AS2 can be traced back to the start of Aerion Corporation. Aerion was started by Dr. Richard Tracy, Robert Bass, and Brian Barents in 2002. Their focus was to develop a supersonic aircraft for civilian (non-government) use. Over several years, the organization worked on developing an Aerion supersonic business jet. The first design that the company developed was the Aerion SBJ (2004). In 2014, the company launched the Aerion AS2 to replace the Aerion SBJ. The Aerion AS2 supersonic private aircraft improved on the SBJ with a larger cabin and three engines, instead of two. By 2019, the development of the jet was accelerated as the company partnered with Boeing and began moving forward toward the production of the aircraft. Thorough out 2019 and 2020, Aerion selected several equipment manufacturers to build certain parts of the jet. In 2020, the establishment of Aerion Park was announced, which will be the manufacturing home of the jet. Wind tunnel testing for the jet was completed in November 2020 at ONERA in Modane, France. At the end of 2020 and the start of 2021, the company gained more orders for the Aerion AS2 aircraft. Avion Pacific, Set Jet, and NetJets all reached order agreements with Aerion. The backlog for the firm rose to $10 billion after the announcement of the NetJets order in March 2021.

Wind Tunnel Testing

Aerion AS2 wind tunnel testing was started in September 2020 and completed in November 2020. Aerion teamed up with ONERA in Modane, France to perform high-speed testing of an Aerion AS2 model. Aerion Technologies, a subsidiary of the firm, was able to develop aerodynamic optimization tools to help the company reduce the need for demonstrator aircraft. The AS2 corporate jet was able to fly the equivalent to 78,000 nautical miles in the wind tunnel. Completion of the testing has allowed the company to fast-track the development of the supersonic jet.

Aerion is focused on continuing the momentum that they have had with sales and completing the production of the jet.

The Aerion AS2 jet in wind tunnel at ONERA in France

Above is the Aerion AS2 in the wind tunnel at ONERA in France. Photo copyright Aerion and used under the fair use provision.

Aerion AS2 Timeline

2002 - Aerion Corporation Created.
2004 – Aerion SBJ plane launched.
2014 – Aerion AS2 launched. Replaces SBJ.
2014 – Airbus partnerships with Aerion.
2017 – Lockheed Martin replaces Airbus as a partner.
2019 – Boeing replaces Lockheed Martin.
2019 – Aerion announces several OEM partners.
2020 – Aerion Park announced. AS2 to be built in Melbourne, FL.
2020 – Wind tunnel testing completed in November.
2020 – Avion Pacific orders the AS2.
2021 – Set Jet places an order for 2 AS2 airplanes.
2021 – March – NetJets signs an MOU for 20 jets.

Aerion AS2 Orders

Orders for the Aerion AS2 are approximately 83 jets. The Aerion AS2 backlog is over $10 billion. The number of jets that are on order is an approximate amount because Aerion has only reported the monetary value of some orders and not the number of aircraft that have been ordered.

AS2 Private Jet Customers

The following are known customers that have ordered the AS2 supersonic private jet.

  • Flexjet – 20 Jets 2015
  • Avion Pacific – 2020 – on behalf of customers
  • Set Jet – 2 jets 2021
  • NetJets 20 Jets (MOU) 2021

Aerion AS2 NetJets in Clouds Supersonic

Above is the NetJets Aerion AS2 supersonic aircraft flying above the clouds. Photo copyright Aerion and used under the fair use provision.

Aerion AS2 Design

Aerion’s supersonic jet has been designed to be comparable to jets in the large jet category of the corporate jet market. The aircraft will have a range and cabin size that is similar to other large jets. The main difference between the AS2 plane and other large jets is that it will be the only one that can fly at Mach 1.4.

The design of the interior has been shown in some of the company’s marketing materials. A photo of the interior is featured below. The design of the cockpit of the Aerion AS2 is unknown as the company has not released any renderings of it. Honeywell has been selected as the avionics system provider for the jet and they will be incorporating the Honeywell Primus Epic avionics suite into the aircraft.

Aerion AS2 interior or cabin photo

Above rendering of the Aerion AS2 Interior by Aerion. Used under the fair use provision.

Exterior Design

The exterior design or body design of the aircraft is an interesting shape that is curved so that the aircraft can achieve supersonic speeds. There are 3 engines on the jet, mounted in a tri-jet configuration.

Aerion AS2 New Design

The current AS2 design is a new version that was modified from the previous version of the jet. On April 17, 2020, the new design for the supersonic jet was unveiled. Changes to the jet included a delta-shaped wing and empennage and wing modifications. Those changes helped the plane be lighter and shorter than the prior version according to Aviation Week.

Previous Designs

Before the redesign, Aerion had a straight wing configuration that was placed at the back of the jet. Also, it was a high wing design. Prior to that version, a straight wing placed in the middle of the aircraft was developed. The Aerion SBJ, the initial version of the AS2 had a different design that featured two tail-mounted engines and a straight wing located at the back of the airplane.

Aerion AS2 Model

In 2020, Aerion had developed a wind tunnel model of the AS2 jet. The company hired NLR – Netherlands Aerospace Centre to create the Aerion AS2 model. It took Aerion and NLR 6 months to develop the AS2 model. The model contained several electrical components and sensors
so that Aerion could test the stress from supersonic flight. Aerion has detailed the development of the model on their blog.

The Aerion AS2 Model made out of metal

Above is a photo of the Aerion AS2 model that was used for wind tunnel testing. Photo by Aerion and used under the fair use provision.

Aerion AS2 Features

The Aerion AS2 is planned to have several features that will make it stand out from other aircraft. The main one being supersonic speed (of course). The AS2 is planned to fly at Mach 1.4, which will make it the fastest business jet. Also, the AS2 plane will be able to fly below the speed of sound, which will allow it to fly in Mach 1+ restricted areas. The lower speed will also allow the jet to have the flexibility to use less fuel and be economical. Aerion has also created a feature called Boomless Cruise which will allow the jet to fly at Mach 1 to 1.2 and have no sonic booms reach the ground. There are also several other features that Aerion plans to implement. Below is a list of them.

  • Aerion Connect – a travel network available through an app that will allow travelers to book luxury transportation from the ground to the air. Electra.Aero eSTOL aircraft and NetJets are working with the company on this feature.
  • Boomless Cruise – The AS2 will have Boomless Cruise technology that will allow the airplane to fly at Mach 1 to 1.2 and not have a sonic boom reach ground level. At 5,000 feet, the boom will be diffused due to a pressure wave in the atmosphere. Spire Global is working with the company to help calculate weather-optimized flight plans that will allow the AS2 to fly at supersonic speeds. This feature could help the Aerion gain approval for overland supersonic flights in the U.S.Mach 1.4 cruise speed. This will make the Aerion AS the fastest private jet.
  • Mach 0.95 subsonic speed.
  • 4,200 nautical miles supersonic range
  • 5,400 nautical miles subsonic range
  • WhisperQuiet cabin and Purity climate control.
  • High-speed internet.
  • OLED lighting with the full spectrum.
  • Kitchen and appliance suite.
  • GE Affinity engine. The Aerion GE Affinity engine will allow the jet to fly at supersonic speeds. The jet engine has been developed from the CFM56 series engines that the company build for commercial engines.
    Aerion Wing – The AS2 will have a specially designed delta wing that will help the aircraft fly at supersonic speeds.

Aerion AS2 Images – Photos

Below are some photos of renderings of the supersonic jet. Some of the images can be used as wallpaper for your computer as they are high-resolution photos. The company has not directly released any Aerion AS2 wallpaper images, however.

The Aerion AS2 exterior on the ramp

The Aerion AS2 jet flying over hong kong downtown

Above photos are copyright Aerion and used under the fair use provision.

Aerion AS2 Sonic Boom

One problem with supersonic aircraft is that they produce sonic booms when they fly at the speed of sound. Those sonic booms create noise and vibration disturbances on the ground. In the United States, overland supersonic flight is not allowed. The AS2 does generate a sonic boom when flying at its main cruise speed of Mach 1.4. Aerion, however, has come up with a way to fly at supersonic speeds and avoid a sonic boom from reaching the lower atmosphere and the ground. When flying at Mach 1 to 1.2 and in certain weather conditions, the sonic boom is diffused in the atmosphere. The company is calling the sonic boom avoidance, Boomless Cruise. Aerion Boomless Cruise is centered on flying in ideal weather conditions that will allow the sonic boom to be diffused before hitting lower altitudes. Spire Global is integrating its global weather forecasting platform with the Aerion AS2 so that optimized flight plans can be created and ground-level sonic booms avoided.

Aerion AS2 Partners

Aerion has developed a long list of partners that are providing components for the aircraft. The main partner for Aerion is Boeing. Boeing is providing financial, manufacturing, engineering, and flight test support to Aerion for the AS2. They were announced as a partner in 2019 and replaced Lockheed Martin as the main partner. Before Lockheed Martin, Aerion had a partnership with Airbus that started in 2014 and ended in 2017. Since Boeing is a key partner for the company, the jet can sometimes be called the Boeing AS2.

Other Partners

Aerion has a several additional partners that are designing and building components for the aircraft. Below is a list of those partners and Aerion AS2 suppliers.

Aerion AS2 Safran

Safran was announced as a supplier for the AS2’s landing gear and braking systems and nacelles in December 2019. Safran Landing Systems will be providing the entire systems for the landing gears (main and nose). Safran Nacelles will provide the nacelles which include the engine inlets, fan cowl doors, and thrust reversers. Those components will be designed in France.

Aerion AS2 Spirit Aerosystems

In February 2019, Aerion selected Spirit Aerosystems as the supplier for the AS2 jet’s forward pressurized fuselage. On July 28th, 2020, Spirit and Aerion entered into an expanded memorandum of agreement to produce the forward fuselage. Spirit has agreed to provide additional investment into the Aerion AS2. Aerion is expecting that Spirit Aerosystems will build 36 fuselages per year once the program is at full speed.

  • Rosen Aviation – 2/2/2021 – Cabin Management and Technology System (CMTS). Cabin entertainment system.
  • Spire Global – 11/23/2020 – Weather intelligence system to support Boomless Cruise flight plans.
  • Electra.Aero – 10/15/2020 – Partnership with their eSTOL aircraft (electric short takeoff and landing) that makes them part of Aerion Connect.
  • PPG – 10/12/2020 – Cockpit/flight deck windshields and cabin window transparencies.
  • Liebherr-Aerospace – 9/2020 – Air management system using ambient air instead of bleed air.
  • BAE Systems – 9/14/2020 – Fly-by-wire flight control system and active inceptors.
  • Honeywell – 9/14/2020 – Avionics and connectivity suite. Honeywell Forge platform for communications.
  • Electro Magnetic Applications – 8/13/2020 – Electromagnetic interference research and avoidance.
  • Collins Aerospace – 7/23/2020 – Moveable leading edge actuation system, rudder actuation system, elevons actuation system, and horizontal stabilizer actuation system.
  • GE Aviation – 12/16/2019 – Electrical power systems provider.
  • GE Aviation – 2018 – Engines – GE Affinity.
  • Aernnova – 12/11/2019 – Mid fuselage design.
  • GKN Aerospace – 12/11/2019 – Empennage and the electrical and wiring interconnection systems (EWIS).

Aerion AS2 Outlook

The Aerion AS2 jet program is moving forward and Aerion Supersonic is putting together the necessary components to bring the jet to market. Plans are for production to begin in 2023. Flight testing is scheduled for 2025 and the supersonic jet is planned to be rolled out in 2027 (previously 2026).

Aerion AS2 Release Date

The release date for the AS2 is scheduled to be in 2027. That will be the day that the plane is delivered to a customer and fully ready to fly passengers.

Update

As of March 2021, Aerion is moving forward and is planning on building its world headquarters in Melbourne, FL. Once the headquarters is completed, the company can then begin work on building the first AS2 airplane. A majority of the suppliers for the aircraft have been selected, which means that the company can move forward with developing those components.


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