With joint engineering efforts accelerating on the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet program, Aerion and Airbus Group have announced a new agreement that will expand North American-based Airbus Group resources to the AS2 program. Support from Airbus Group operations in North America will include engineering, procurement and supply chain management, logistics planning, program management and government relations. These new resources will augment engineering support from Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus D&S) in Spain.
In September 2015, senior engineering staff from Aerion, Airbus D&S, Airbus Group and other tier-one equipment suppliers gathered for a four-day technical and program review, covering engineering accomplished to date on all structures and aircraft systems. “We have moved out of the conceptual design phase into commercializing Aerion technology,” said Mike Hinderberger, senior vice president for aircraft development at Aerion. “We are doing the engineering work today that will allow us to build and fly a supersonic jet at the turn of the next decade.”
Aerion is targeting 2021 for the AS2’s first flight and 2023 for entry into service, following FAA certification.
The company is now looking for a site in the USA for its manufacturing operation. “We’re looking for a state-of-the art campus of more than 100 acres on a major airport with a minimum 9,000ft runway and other special geophysical requirements,” said Doug Nichols, CEO at Aerion.
The location should be within 200 nautical miles of a supersonic flight test area, most likely offshore. Aerion will evaluate factors including airport suitability; road and rail infrastructure; proximity to a deep-water port for shipped structures and equipment; local aerospace workforce; state and local regulations; quality of life; and regional educational institutions. The company expects to announce the location of the assembly site in the first half of 2016 upon formal launch of the AS2 program, and break ground in 2018.
Airbus Group will provide major components and Aerion will conduct final assembly. Both companies envision a long-term relationship for ongoing technical support. Aerion will draw on expertise from Airbus Group for establishing the new Aerion production facility.
November 23, 2015