The Boeing Co. is forming a partnership with Aerion Corp., a Reno, Nev.-based aircraft manufacturer and the developer of the AS2 supersonic business jet. The deal involves Boeing making "a significant investment" in Aerion to accelerate technology development and aircraft design, to promote supersonic air travel in new markets.
More specific terms of the investment were not released. Boeing’s involvement will be organized through its Boeing NeXt division, the development arm that is focused on autonomous technologies and urban air-mobility technology.
Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing, and flight-test resources, as well as strategic vertical content, to bring Aerion's AS2 supersonic business jet to market.
The AS2 is an eight- to 12-passenger supersonic business jet designed to fly at speeds up to approximately 1,000 mph, or Mach 1.4. It was introduced in 2014 and is slated for first flight in 2023.
The aircraft was developed jointly by Aerion and Lockheed Martin Corp., based on Aerion’s original concept jet, called the Aerion SBJ.
Aerion and Lockheed previously engaged in a joint-development agreement with Airbus, but that effort ended in December 2017. Airbus and Aerion developed the aerodynamic design of the AS2 as well as a preliminary wing and airframe structures, systems layout, and fly-by-wire control system concept.
Separately, Aerion partnered with GE Aviation to develop a GE Affinity engine design for the AS2, which it introduced in 2018.
"Boeing is leading a mobility transformation that will safely and efficiently connect the world faster than ever before," stated Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt. "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."