Boeing joins supersonic aircraft development program

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Boeing is to provide engineering, manufacturing and flight test resources to supersonic-aircraft developer Aerion to help the startup bring its business jet to market.

The deal will see Boeing make a “significant investment” in Aerion and will see it help the Reno, Nevada-based Aerion with developing the technology and designing its AS2 jet.

The AS2 has been designed to fly at speeds of up to Mach 1.4 and is slated for first flight in 2023.

Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, the company’s R&D division, said, “This is a strategic and disciplined leading-edge investment in further maturing supersonic technology. This partnership combines Aerion’s supersonic expertise with Boeing’s global industrial scale and commercial aviation experience.”

Aerion was founded in 2003 and publicized the design of its AS2 12-passenger business jet in 2014. In October last year the company revealed that the AS2 will use the supersonic Affinity engine being developed by GE Aviation and that it is working with Honeywell on the Avionics for the aircraft.

The company is no longer working with Lockheed Martin on the AS2’s development, it has been reported. The company announced a partnership with Lockheed in 2017.

Tom Vice, chairman, president and CEO of Aerion said, “The AS2 is the launch point for the future of regulatory-compliant and efficient supersonic flight. Together with Boeing, we’re creating a faster, more connected future with tremendous possibilities for enhancing humanity’s productivity and potential.”

Last week, Aerion’s competitor Boom Supersonic said it was on course to start flight testing a prototype of its Overture regional supersonic aircraft this year.

Read more about supersonic aircraft testing and development, including NASA’s QueSST project, here.

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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