On the eve of the NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Orlando Florida, Aerion Supersonic (Aerion) and General Electric (GE) have announced that the US$120 million supersonic AS2 business jet will operate without the need for regulatory changes to noise levels. The Aerion jet will be powered by GE’s Affinity turbofan engine.
The Affinity is a new class of medium bypass ratio engines that provide exceptional and balanced performance across supersonic and subsonic flights. GE’s Affinity is a twin-shaft, twin-fan turbofan controlled by a next generation Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) for enhanced dispatch reliability and onboard diagnostics. It is purposefully designed to enable efficient supersonic flight over water and efficient subsonic flight over land, without requiring modifications to existing compliance regulations. The engine is designed to meet stringent Stage 5 subsonic noise requirements and beat current emissions standards.
After two years of a preliminary study, GE Aviation and Aerion launched a formal process in May of 2017 to define and evaluate a final engine configuration for the AS2 supersonic business jet. A GE Project team, supported by a dedicated Engineering team, continue to work with Aerion in a formal and gated process. The next design review is targeted 2020, signaling beginning of detailed design and test article production. Aerion is collaborating with GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell to develop the AS2.
According to Aerion Chief Executive Tom Vice: “We’re on track to fly in 2023, and before that year is out cross the Atlantic at supersonic speed, which will be the first supersonic crossing since the Concorde’s retirement 20 years earlier.”
NBAA-BACE is the third-largest trade show in the U.S. Running between October 16 and 18, approximately 25,000 industry professionals will be attending what is “the most important three days of business aviation.”