Aerion Teams with GE for Supersonic Propulsion

New partnership advances the development of the engine configuration for Aerion’s AS2 trijet.

Aerion has teamed with GE to develop the three engines that will power the AS2 supersonic jet.Aerion

Aerion’s supersonic jet project is beginning to pick up speed as the company is completing its evaluation of engine makers for its 12-passenger AS2 jet. After assessing more than a dozen military and civilian engine makers for the past two years, Aerion has teamed with GE to define and evaluate the final configuration for the three engines that will power the sleek speedster.

“[Aerion’s] goal is to design and certify the first civil supersonic aircraft in half a century,” said GE’s vice president and general manager for business and general aviation and integrated services, Brad Mottier. “We welcome their vision and are excited to continue discussion on engine configuration.”

The AS2 is expected to fly passengers around the world at speeds as fast as Mach 1.5 where supersonic speeds are allowed. Aerion partnered with Airbus Defense and Space in 2014 for collaboration on a variety of critical developmental aspects such as engineering, program management, government relations, and procurement and supply chain management.

The partnership with GE does not solidify a final engine manufacturer selection, something Aerion had hoped to accomplish by the end of last year. As a result, the certification targets have slid. First flight is scheduled for 2023 with a target for certification in 2025.

However, much progress has been made with the project. Through the partnership with Airbus, decisions have been made for the preliminary design and systems architecture and wind tunnel testing has been conducted at Canada’s National Research Council trisonic wind tunnel in Ottawa. “Our confidence in the aerodynamics and performance of the AS2 is very high, borne out by extensive subsonic and supersonic wind tunnel tests, and by flight testing of natural laminar flow airfoils on NASA’s F-15B at speeds up to Mach 2,” said Aerion’s CEO Doug Nichols.