Aerion Supersonic has commissioned Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse to develop an integrated air-management system for the AS2 supersonic business jet. The companies began their collaboration in mid-2019, developing preliminary designs. Following the initial technical discussions, the two parties converged on a next-generation electrical pack with an integrated air-management system.
Liebherr-Aerospace says the electrical air-conditioning pack, which it has been developing for several years, is a major step towards greener aircraft operation. In lieu of the traditional methods of utilising bleed air from the aircraft’s engines, the design selected by Aerion draws ambient air from an inlet on the leading edge of the wing strake, enabling electrically powered compression. The company says fuel consumption due to the air-conditioning packs will thus be considerably reduced compared to current bleed air systems.
“Developing an air-management system, which is to perform at supersonic speed, comes with many challenges that we intend to work through with the Aerion team,” said Francis Carla, chief technology officer at Liebherr-Aerospace & Transportation. “Liebherr has decades-long experience in air- and thermal-management systems for both commercial and military platforms, that we can contribute for the benefit of the AS2.”
“We are seeking innovative, technology-led partners at the top of their fields who are passionate about accelerating the evolution of human mobility while at the same time being kind to our planet,” said Tom Vice, chairman, president and CEO at Aerion. “I am confident that in Liebherr-Aerospace we have found such a partner who will support bringing the AS2 to production.”
Aerion’s pursuit of faster point-to-point travel begins with the launch of the AS2 supersonic business jet, due to commence production in 2023. Designed to be inherently environmentally responsible from its first flight, the AS2 will have the ability to accept 100% synthetic fuel and reach supersonic speeds without the need for an afterburner.
The AS2 will be the first aircraft to be assembled at Aerion’s new global headquarters, Aerion Park, in Melbourne, Florida. The development, powered by clean energy, will incorporate an integrated campus to research, design, build and support the new supersonic aircraft.