Two leaders in supersonic technology, Aerion and Lockheed Martin announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to define a formal and gated process to explore the feasibility of a joint development of the world’s first supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2.
Over the next 12 months, the companies will work together to develop a framework on all phases of the program, including engineering, certification and production.
Aerion Chairman Robert M. Bass stated: “This relationship is absolutely key to creating a supersonic renaissance. When it comes to supersonic know-how, Lockheed Martin’s capabilities are well known, and, in fact, legendary. We share with Lockheed Martin a commitment to the long-term development of efficient civil supersonic aircraft.”
“We are excited to work with Aerion on their development of the next-generation, efficient supersonic jet that will potentially serve as a platform for pioneering future supersonic aircraft,” said Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
The MOU is the result of extensive discussions between Aerion and Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works® Advanced Development Programs team. For close to 75 years, Skunk Works has existed to create revolutionary aircraft that push the boundaries of what is possible.
Lockheed Martin, known for developing the world's leading supersonic combat aircraft, the F-16, the F-35, and F-22, as well as the Mach 3+ SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft, is committed to fostering new innovations and developing supersonic technologies with civil and commercial applications.
“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. We are committed to remaining on the cutting edge of aerospace technology and are excited to examine the contribution we might make to working with Aerion on making aviation history,” said Carvalho.
During the last two and a half years, Aerion advanced the aerodynamics and structural design of the AS2 through a previous engineering collaboration agreement with Airbus. Through that effort, 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.
“We are grateful for Airbus’ contribution to the program. We could not have moved the program to this stage without their support,” said Brian Barents, Aerion Executive Chairman.
In May 2017, GE Aviation announced an agreement with Aerion to define a supersonic engine for the AS2. The latest announcement with Lockheed Martin further positions Aerion as the leader in the nascent sector of civil supersonic aviation.
Aerion Corporation of Reno, Nevada, was formed in 2003 to introduce a new era of practical and efficient supersonic flight. Aerion has since developed and demonstrated advanced wing technology in conjunction with NASA and other leading aeronautical institutions, including breakthrough work in supersonic natural laminar flow, the key enabling technology behind the AS2 business jet.
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. Aerion expects the AS2’s first flight in 2023 and certification in 2025.
Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration, and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products, and services.