Supersonic jet maker Aerion has reportedly confirmed orders for 20 of its AS2 supersonic business jets by private aircraft firm NetJets, as well as the launch of a new supersonic aircraft training facility.
The AS2 is vying to become the first supersonic aircraft to enter commercial service in 51 years, as well as the world’s first supersonic business aircraft.
The supersonic jet is powered by fuel-efficient GE Aviation turbofan engines, with the engine-maker confirming it has successfully completed initial designs for the jet engine.
Further, the AS2 has been designed to accept 100 per cent engineered synthetic fuel, and can reach supersonic speeds of up to Mach 1.4, or about 1,000 miles per hour.
According to Aerion, the AS2 is about 50 per cent faster than conventional business jets, and has a supersonic range of up to 4,200 nautical miles, or 5,400 nautical miles subsonic.
The addition of the NetJets order brings Aerion’s global order backlog for the AS2 to be now worth more than $10 billion, according to the company.
Wide scale production of the jets is planned to begin in 2023 at the company’s manufacturing facility in Melbourne, Florida, with 300 jets to be built within the first 10 years of operation.
Further, in partnership with NetJets, and professional aviation training provider FlightSafety International, Aerion will work to develop a supersonic flight training academy to train pilots for civil, commercial and military supersonic aircraft.
“At Aerion our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours and this new partnership is a significant step towards realising that vision,” said Aerion president and CEO Tom Vice.
“Our strategy is to connect the very best partners in the world within a new mobility ecosystem optimised for speed and founded on sustainability.
“In NetJets and FlightSafety International we have two such partners; both globally recognised leaders in their fields who share our passion for a new era of mobility that is both fast and at the same time kind to our planet.”
Aerion is one of multiple start-ups, including Boom Supersonic and Spike Aerospace, vying to become the first commercial supersonic jet to enter service since the mighty Concorde.