In 2017, the Aerion AS2 received major media attention, with many outlets declaring it the world's first supersonic commercial jet. Now that the AS2 is slated for production, the Reno-based aviation company is proposing an even faster evolution of the aircraft dubbed AS3.
The AS2 can hit a maximum speed of Mach 1.4, or 1074 mph. This would allow for trans-Atlantic trips to be cut down to four hours, allowing for whirlwind round-trip flights from New York to London on the same day.
But with the next-gen AS3 passenger jet, Aerion is targeting a top end of Mach 3-5, or 2,302-3,836 mph. As Robb Report notes, the AS3 could potentially fly from New York to London—a distance of 3,459 miles—in just one hour if speeds of Mach 4.6 or faster are achieved.
The news comes after Aerion announced an expanded partnership with NASA's Langley Research Center, with the mutual goal of the collaboration being to continue to research and develop a new generation of "high-Mach" aircraft.
“This is a continuation of a long-standing relationship between Aerion Supersonic and NASA,” Aerion CEO, Tom Vice said in a statement.
“At Aerion our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours. This partnership will enable the development of technologies that will help realize ultra-high-speed point-to-point global mobility solutions in the Mach 3-5 range.”
In the meantime, the production of 300 Aerion AS2 will begin in 2023 at a new 100-acre cornerstone production facility in Melbourne, Florida. Set Jet, a membership-based private jet charter flight platform, has already placed an order for two AS2s.
“As a jet pilot with over 10,000 hours of flight time, I was of course very intrigued by the Aerion AS2® and the ability to provide our five-star luxury travel experience to our members at a speed greater than the speed of sound,” said Set Jet CEO Tom Smith.
“As a company, Set Jet is excited to work with Aerion, an industry leader in the category and be the first to provide environmentally responsible supersonic private jet service between LA and Hawaii, as well as New York and London, with approximately three and four-hour flight times respectively."