Aerion Adds Third Engine to SSBJ Concept

New configuration offers more range, larger cabin.

Aerion AS2 SSBJ

Aerion AS2 SSBJ

** Aerion AS2**

Aerion has revealed a new three-engine configuration for its long-gestating supersonic business jet project, now renamed the AS2 and featuring a larger cabin and more range. The Reno, Nevada-based company revealed the new configuration at EBACE in Geneva, although it did not appear to be any closer to securing a manufacturing partner for the airplane.

The original Aerion jet would have flown with two Pratt & Whitney JT8Ds, but the company now concedes that these engines, first operated on the Boeing 727 and MD-80 jetliners, aren't quiet or environmentally friendly enough to make them a viable choice for a future supersonic bizjet.

Aerion says it has held talks with several engine manufacturers and thinks an existing turbofan engine, with modifications, can be adapted for use on the AS2. As a result of the changes, price of the SSBJ is expected to climb from a projected $80 million to more than $100 million.

Combined with a wider cabin and reshaped fuselage, Aerion says the trijet configuration offers a number of benefits, including shorter takeoff roll, lower overall noise and longer range, up to 5,000 nm. Aerion has revealed that engine power would be in the range of 15,000 pounds of thrust apiece.

A recent market survey conducted by Aerions determined the market for an SSBJ could be 600 units over 20 years. Aerion says it will continue to chase its supersonic dream as long as the OEMs it talks to continue to express an interest in such aircraft.

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