Aerion’s AS2 is proving difficult to finalise it seems, with the company admitting that its progressing, but far more difficult than they imagined.
The 12 seat Mach1.4 capable aircraft has undergone a major alteration it its design to meet the aircraft’s goals as set out from day one. Overcoming sustainability issues in terms of fuel consumption and emissions has been incredibly difficult to get near.
Another issue has been the supersonic boom, which is essential to overcome, the aircraft must fly as quietly as possible, theoretically viable but harder to achieve than first expected.
Changes to the design principally include:
- Delta wing replaces laminar flow design for better all-around performance
- Empennage and wing changes enable shorter, lighter design
The company has been involved with Airbus, Lockheed and now Boeing, and signed up GE to produce the engines in February 2019.
The key to its success seems to to be a ‘boomless cruise’ at Mach 1.2. That’s a whole Mach 1.0 than its originally specified speed back in 2004.
The new boomless technologies should allow for trans-continental travel as most countries don’t permit sonic booms over land because of the potential damage to property.
The problem was there were so many competing requirements to get the design to function that the lower Mach speed was the only way forward.
The new design includes tow GE Affinity engines under the wings and one in the tail.
It won’t have a Concorde-like drop nose either, using external cameras to give pilots a better view when landing.
The engines are based on the core of the CFM56 type engine used extensively in sub-sonic aviation.
The aircraft is being designed to use alternative jet fuel, but that won’t reduce its Co2 output (something true for all alternate jet fuels, it’s simply how they are made and obtained that may be more eco-friendly, the emissions vary little).
If you’re thinking how much it looks like a B58 Hustler nuclear bomber from the late 1950’s, you wouldn’t be the only one.
Aerion is offering a military AS2 derivative dubbed the High-Altitude Supercruise (HASC) platform to serve as a U.S. high-altitude surveillance and eavesdropping aircraft for the Army, Air Force and Navy. The concept includes new capabilities such as a high-altitude testbed platform for a powerful new class of high-energy lasers with power levels of 500 kW or more.
So, if you’ve more money than brains and need to travel for business at high speed. You might one day get to go in one of these. Just what the 1% needed!