You might recognize the name of aerospace manufacturer Aerion, the company behind the AS2 supersonic jet. The AS2 is designed for business travel, and the company has touted technological advances ranging from fuel efficiency to the lack of a sonic boom despite supersonic speeds. NetJets recently placed an order for 20, and production of the AS2 is slated to begin in 2023.
That’s not the only supersonic aircraft the company has in the works, however. This week Aerion announced the AS3, a commercial airliner boasting supersonic speeds that could fly between New York and London in an hour. (To compare, the Concorde’s record was just below the three-hour mark.) An article at Robb Report offers some enticing numbers: the AS3 will be designed to carry 500 passengers, will be capable of speeds around Mach 4 and has a 7,000-mile range.
The article also notes that Aerion has a partnership, recently expanded, with the Langley Research Center at NASA, designed to explore the possibilities of commercial travel at high speeds.
“Our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours,” said Aerion CEO Tom Vice. In an interview with Robb Report, Vice also emphasized the company’s work with synthetic fuels.
Is the future of commercial air travel both supersonic and carbon neutral? That’s an ambitious goal. Then again, the idea of returning to the days of the Concorde — and exceeding it — seems to be on several companies’ minds as of late. That could be a proverbial game-changer. For now, Aerion hopes to have the AS3 in the air by decade’s end.
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