Aerion Supersonic in Reno, Nev., has been working for the last decade to develop a supersonic business jet, and now the aerospace giant Airbus has joined the team as a partner. Airbus said in September that it will provide a team of senior engineers to work with Aerion to help shepherd the design through the complex certification process. (The companies are currently working together in the initial stage of their engineering collaboration.) Robert Bass, chairman of Aerion, says that the partnership will help the company achieve its goal to have a supersonic airplane flying by 2019, certified in 2021, and entering service in 2022.
The company revealed its latest design, the AS2, in May. The aircraft will be capable of carrying up to 12 passengers in a 30-foot-long cabin at speeds up to 1,218 mph (Mach 1.6), with a range objective of 5,450 miles or better. The United States prohibits airspeeds above Mach 1 in its airspace, but Aerion says that high speeds on transoceanic routes will still provide unmatched point-to-point travel times for a civilian jet. For example, the AS2 will be able to fly from Chicago to Frankfurt, Germany, nonstop in just over five hours. The market price for the AS2 is expected to be above $100 million. (aerionsupersonic.com)