Aerion and Airbus to Build New Supersonic Jet in 2021

By Money Times

Nov 18, 2015 08:46 AM EST

American billionaire, Robert Bass, established Aerion in 2004. The company with engineering support from Airbus will formally launch the AS2 program next year. Currently, the Reno,based company is searching for manufacturing facility to start building its Aerion supersonic jet. This will become new supersonic jet after Concorde retirement in 2003.

Aerion will announce the manufacturing site to be chosen by next year. According to Bloomberg, Aerion unveiled the timeline on Monday in order to build civilian plane capable of trans-sonic travel. Aerion and its partner Airbus Group SE will fill a niche left vacant since the retirement of the Concorde in 2003. So far, the partnership between those two has made preliminary designs for a carbon-fiber wing structure, fuselage, landing gear and a fuel system, among other components. 

Concorde is the last of its kind, a passenger jet airplane that is capable to travel in supersonic speed. During its service from 1976 until retirement in 2003, Concorde was able to travel over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04. It can cross the Atlantic Ocean in just three and half hours at that cruising speed, which equal to more than 2000 km/h or 1300 mph. The first generation of supersonic jet is Soviet's Tupolev Tu-144, and only serve a short 3 years as passenger plane from 1975 to 1978. 

Supersonic jet has been a target for many aircraft manufacturer, since the vacant position left by Concorde. CNN reported that the most ambitious one is Bombardier's Skreemr. The Canadian aircraft manufacturer earlier this year released its design jet that would carry 75 passengers from London to New York in 30 minutes. Although later Bombardier admit that the plan of Skreemr is far from reality, but other manufacturers also set supersonic jet as their target. Prior to its partnership with Aerion, Airbus received its patent for "ultra rapid air-vehicle" that can travel at four times speed of sound. Lockheed Martin and NASA also co-operate to develop supersonic jet and reducing sonic boom, that occur when airplane reach speed faster than sound. Nevertheless, Aerion and Airbus plan is so far the closest one to be the new supersonic passenger jet.

Aviation International News reported Aerion plan to formally formal launch the AS2 program and break ground on the facility in 2018. Speaking in National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) on Monday, CEO Doug Nichols said, "We're looking for a state-of-the art campus of more than 100 acres on a major airport with a minimum 9,000-foot runway and other special geophysical requirements."

As Concorde retired, the supersonic jet passenger plane no longer exist. Aerion expected to fill that vacant position with is AS2 project together with Airbus.They expected to have the plane ready in 2021. 

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