Aerion Corporation has banded together with Lockheed Martin in the latest phase of their development of the AS2 Supersonic business jet. The company has entered into a bilateral agreement with Lockheed—a Memorandum of Understanding—which will, if all goes well, lead to a more concrete business relationship between the two companies in the future, with the production of the AS2 the result.
The agreement represents a small coup for Aerion. The company’s AS2 concept has already been the subject of a R&D collaboration between Aerion and European aerospace company Airbus. And Aerion’s development of SNLF—or supersonic natural laminar flow wing and stabilizer design—has excited the industry, and may signal the next major phase in aeronautics technology. SNLF’s turbulence-negating contours reduce friction drag on the AS2’s wings by up to 90%, and Aerion has NASA testing to back up the figure.
The agreement places both companies in the best possible position for continued development of the supersonic business jet, although competition to be the first to be associated with the re-emergence of supersonic technology in a passenger jet context remains very intense. Lockheed has also partnered with a NASA design team to develop a boom-free supersonic design.
Aerion has given 2023 as the year of the airborne AS2, and 2025 as the year when the model will be certified. Fractional jet industry upstart Flexjet ordered 20 of the aircraft in early 2016.