Lockheed has announced that it will collaborate with Aerion Corporation to manufacture the first business jet that can fly thousands of miles while maintaining supercruise. The plane will be the first passenger aircraft to be built by Lockheed Martin in the last 30 years. The plane will be known as AS2. It will resemble the hybrid of the 727 airliners and the F-104 Starfighter and is set to bring a revolution on how private corporate travel is conducted in the 21st century. The jet also has the potential to make inroads in the commercial aviation industry.
One of the things that most industry players are not talking about is the potential of the AS2 to be used for military purposes. Aerion and Lockheed Martin released a statement together on December 15, 2017. The report outlined a comprehensive plan on how the two corporations would collaborate in the coming year to develop a partnership in the design work and engineering of the AS2.
The joint exercise would also involve the serial production of the final jet and move the plane prototypes through the different processes of certification. General Electric also signed a partnership deal with the airline corporations in May this year to commit to the production of the engines of the AS2.
The Chairman of Aerion, Robert Bass noted in a press interview that the collaboration between the three aircraft manufacturers was key to the production of a supersonic renaissance. Bass noted that Lockheed’s capabilities were unmatched when it comes to the production of supersonic aircrafts.
He noted that his company was in a long-term commitment with Lockheed Martin to build a supersonic aircraft that could be used for civil aviation purposes. In another statement, Lockheed Martin’s Executive Vice President, Orlando Carvalho said that his company was willing to invest more time and resources in the production of the AS2. Carvalho said that the aerodynamic technology developed by Aerion was outstanding.
Carvalho added that they were looking forward to making history in the world of supersonic civil aviation in collaboration with Aerion. The AS2 will have three engines and will be able to travel at supercruise speeds of Mach 1.4 for extended periods of time. Aerion has already showcased their designs for the low and high wing designs for the AS2. The AS2 is expected to have as a range of over 4,000 miles while traveling at Mach 1.4. However, at Mach 0.95 which is near supercruise speed, the jet extends its range to over 5,400 nautical miles.