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Lockheed joins Aerion supersonic bizjet project
Aerion AS2 © Aerion

Lockheed joins Aerion supersonic bizjet project

Aerion and Lockheed Martin have announced an MoU to define a process to explore the feasibility of a joint development of the Aerion AS2 supersonic bizjet.

Aerion and Lockheed Martin have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to define a formal and gated process to explore the feasibility of a joint development of what they hope will be the world's first supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2.

The two companies say they will work together over the next 12 months to develop a framework on all phases of the programme, including engineering, certification and production.

The MoU is the result of extensive discussions between Aerion and Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works Advanced Development Programs team.

"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, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.

Over the last two and a half years, Aerion has advanced the aerodynamics and structural design of the AS2 through a previous engineering collaboration agreement with Airbus. The two companies developed a preliminary design of wing and airframe structures, systems layout, and preliminary concepts for a fly-by-wire flight control system.

In May 2017, GE Aviation announced an agreement with Aerion to define a supersonic engine for the AS2.

In the latest configuration of the three-engine design, shown above, the two outboard engines have been pulled forward, under the wing, while the 3rd remains in the tail. This configuration with 18,000lb thrust turbofan engines, is said to improve weight, balance, systems layout, maintainability, as well as simplifying some certification requirements.

The 12-passenger AS2 is expected to fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.4 over water, and, where permitted by regulation, at speeds approaching Mach 1.2 without a sonic boom reaching the ground. Projected range is 5,400nm.

In November 2015, Aerion announced a fleet order from fractional aircraft fleet operator Flexjet for 20 AS2 aircraft. Aerion expects the AS2's first flight in 2023 and certification in 2025.

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