Boeing has made a “significant investment” in budding supersonic-jet manufacturer Aerion, tapping into the re-emerging supersonic jet market.
Lockheed Martin partnered with Aerion in 2017 to develop the AS2 supersonic business jet. Lockheed is no longer working on the project and Boeing has been bought on as the OEM partner.
It recently partnered with GE to develop the engine for the Aerion AS2 and Honeywell to design the avionics and flight deck.
Following the announcement, Boeing shares hit a record-high of $410 on 6 Feb, up 13.18 points. This marks the first time Boeing shares (stock) have been valued at over $400.
The investment was made through Boeing’s NeXt programme – a research, development and investment subsidiary. The amount invested and terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
As part of the deal, Aerion will be providing engineering, manufacturing and flight-test resources and most importantly, to help bring Aerion’s AS2 supersonic jet to market. The AS2 flies at speeds of up to Mach 1.4 (aprox. 1,000mph). At this speed, approximately three hours can be cut from normal airline times on transatlantic flights.
Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt said: “Boeing is leading a mobility transformation that will safely and efficiently connect the world faster than ever before. This is a strategic and disciplined leading-edge investment in further maturing supersonic technology.
“Through this partnership that combines Aerion’s supersonic expertise with Boeing’s global industrial scale and commercial-aviation experience, we have the right team to build the future of sustainable supersonic flight.”
Aerion was founded in 2003 and first revealed that it was developing the AS2 in 2014. The company first revealed its partnership with GE engines at Corporate Jet Investor’s Revolution.Aero in 2018. The AS2 is the first supersonic aircraft in development since Concorde ceased flying and looks to take its first test flight in 2023.
Tom Vice, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Aerion. Added: “Aerion is the industry leader mapping out a successful, sustainable return to supersonic flight. 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.”
In May last year, the US Department of Transportation (DoT) said it was working to update 14 CFR part 36 noise standards to “broaden its applicability, provide definitions, and adopt noise levels and test requirements that would apply to new-design supersonic aircraft.”
Current noise standards of aircraft and airworthiness certification do not apply to supersonic aircraft – with the exception of Concorde.
Check out our virtual tour of the AS2 on the Jet-Buyer YouTube channel.