Supersonic Still on Gulfstream’s Radar

 - May 21, 2014, 2:50 PM
Gulfstream Aerospace still has supersonic aircraft on its radar, but it is focusing on a “small” research and development program to suppress the sonic boom. In fact, the company’s Quiet Spike, intended to do just that, has previously been tested on an F-15B testbed at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. (Photo: NASA)

Asked about Aerion’s redesigned supersonic business jet announced this week at EBACE, Gulfstream Aerospace president Larry Flynn said, “I think everyone knows Gulfstream has had an interest in supersonic and we have a small research and development project that has been under way for several years. The project is mostly focused on suppressing the sonic boom. Our intentions would be to fly a supersonic airplane over land. We want to have that capability, because we think that airplane will be more valuable and flexible.”

Flynn said Gulfstream had met with Aerion but decided not to participate in the project because “we’ve got enough on our plate internally. So we just wouldn’t be able to do them justice.” However, he does think there’s demand for a supersonic business jet, even one priced north of $100 million.

“Oh, there’s a market for it,” Flynn said. “I think it is a larger market if the airplane can be flown over land. We’re convinced that speed is important. Witness the G650, where we’ve been focused on speed and range and have been successful. All of our [G650] customers are flying at Mach 0.90.”