Aerion Selects GKN For Supersonic Program
LOS ANGELES—Supersonic business jet developer Aerion has expanded the development and supply base for its Mach 1.4 AS2 corporate aircraft by selecting GKN Aerospace to provide the empennage and part of the electrical system.
The addition of GKN, which has already begun design work at its engineering centers in the Netherlands and Romania, represents another boost for the supersonic project, which has accelerated significantly in 2019. In February the Reno, Nevada-based company announced it was partnering with Boeing on the AS2 and, later the same month, unveiled an agreement with Spirit AeroSystems for the preliminary design of the composite pressurized section of the forward fuselage.
Both agreements followed the 2018 pact with General Electric over the proposed development of the purpose-deigned Affinity engine for the AS2. The business jet will be powered by three Affinity engines, one of which is integrated into the aircraft’s T-tail. The empennage is therefore a relatively complex structure compared to other conventional business jets of similar size and is also optimized aerodynamically for transonic and supersonic cruise.
Aerion, which has selected an advanced version of Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics system, also picked GKN to provide the electrical wiring and interconnection systems for the AS2. Flight tests of the 12-passenger aircraft are now expected to begin in 2024, with certification and entry-into-service around 2026.