Dassault is working quietly on the design for what could become a supersonic business jet (SSBJ). In June the French aircraft manufacturer announced the creation of a “common working group” with Sukhoi to study such an aircraft.
French aerospace firms Dassault Aviation and Onera have signed an agreement to work on research and development that rekindle Dassault’s interest in possibly developing a supersonic business jet (SSBJ). Onera is an aircraft design testing specialist. The agreement covers business aircraft, including the Falcon family and an SSBJ.
At the end of June, Sukhoi announced the creation of the “new” Sukhoi Aviation Corporation, with the consolidation of a number of design and manufacturing companies, including Moscow-based OKB Sukhogo (the Sukhoi design bureau) and the Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Komsomolsk-na-Amure and Taganrog aircraft plants.
Officials at Sukhoi have revealed next to nothing about the company’s proposed supersonic business jet program over the last 12 months. However, during a joint U.S./Russian roundtable discussion on aviation issues in May, Sukhoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan, one of the speakers, said “certain progress” had been achieved during a joint feasibility study with Boeing, not only on the Russian Regional Jet, but also on the SSBJ.
The prospect of designing a supersonic business jet that meets market requirements and environmental noise constraints at a price that will attract buyers remains compelling, and research continues. The Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recently signed an agreement to research SSBJ sonic boom mitigation with Rolls-Royce Deutschland and Gulfstream Aerospace.
Robert Harold Cooper, often referred to by those who knew him as “a true gentleman” and known to his friends at Gulfstream Aerospace as “Captain Bob,” died March 17 while playing golf with friends, as reported briefly in AIN’s April issue (page 108).
Sukhoi is continuing its feasibility studies on the S-21, a supersonic business jet, but officials do not give consistent answers to the question of when the aircraft will appear. “At very best,” said Andrei Ilyin, general director of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft, “an SSBJ would not appear before 2010 or 2012.”
Gulfstream Aerospace President Bryan Moss made his company’s position on supersonic business jets clear at a Paris press conference yesterday when he said, “If you want to get me fired, just report that Gulfstream is developing a supersonic business jet.”
Dassault’s plans for a supersonic business jet are still pretty much alive. The French manufacturer is leading a European research project called Hisac, which stands for hi-speed aircraft. Three families are being studied. Shown on the pictures below are the three configurations partner Sukhoi is studying in the low-boom (differential pressure below 15 Pa) family.
Aerion, a Reno, Nev. start-up that says it plans to have a supersonic business jet (SSBJ) in service before the end of 2010, selected Infusion Design of Kansas City, Mo., to develop eight- to 12-passenger interior concepts for the aircraft’s 30-foot long passenger cabin. Infusion Design has developed executive interior concepts for a variety of business jets since 1997.