GE Aviation announced it has completed the initial design of the first supersonic engine purpose-built for business jets. The new engine—the GE Affinity turbofan—is optimized for supersonic flight and timed for the launch of Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet. The next design review is targeted for 2020, when detailed design and test article production will begin.
“In the last 50 years, business aircraft speeds have increased by less than 10 percent,” said Brad Mottier, GE vice president and general manager for Business and General Aviation and Integrated Services. “Instead of going faster, cabins have increased in size and become more comfortable—and range has become longer. With large, comfortable-cabin, long-range aircraft in the marketplace, the next step is speed . . . made possible with GE’s Affinity.”
Aerion is also collaborating with Lockheed Martin and Honeywell to develop the AS2. Aerion CEO Tom Vice says that first flight of the AS2 will be in 2023, with certification to follow in 2025.