Boeing Partners with Aerion, Bets Big on Supersonics

 - February 5, 2019, 1:13 PM
In a shock announcement on February 5, Boeing has partnered with Aerion on the AS2 supersonic business jet and also made a "significant investment" in the Reno, Nevada company. (Photo: Aerion Corp.)

Boeing today announced a partnership with Aerion Corp. and further made a “significant,” but undisclosed, investment in the Reno, Nevada-based supersonic business jet (SSBJ) developer that aims to “accelerate technology development and aircraft design, and unlock supersonic air travel for new markets.” This apparently replaces Lockheed Martin as Aerion’s aircraft manufacturing partner—a development that, when announced in December 2017, displaced Airbus from this central position. Under the new agreement, Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing, and flight-test resources, as well as strategic vertical content, for Aerion’s AS2 SSBJ.

The move also resulted in a major shake-up of Aerion’s board of directors, with Boeing now holding two seats and the departure of billionaire backer, and now former chairman, Robert Bass. Boeing’s contingent on the board consists of Boeing Commercial Airplanes v-p of product strategy and future airplane development Mike Sinnett and Boeing Global Services v-p of supply chain Ken Shaw. Meanwhile, Tom Vice, who was elevated at Aerion to president and CEO, as well as a board member, in August, has added the title of chairman, effective today.

Notably, the change in manufacturing partners does not affect the timeline for the Mach 1.4 AS2, with first flight still slated for 2023, nor Aerion’s decision to use the GE Aviation Affinity engine to power the aircraft.

Business aviation analyst and JetNet iQ managing director Rollie Vincent said today’s announcement was “completely unexpected,” but added, “If you’re going to have a partner, there’s no one better than Boeing. If anyone has the resources to bear to bring a supersonic jet to market, it’s Boeing.”

Comments

I don't think this aircraft will ever get off the ground
3 different partners in a year. This has to be sign of a desperation.

This is the longest running fraud and scam in aviation. Decades have passed, hundreds of millions of dollars have been given to these Aerion con men and NO metal has been rivited, NO prototypes have flown. It is sad that this is given any credibility by the aviation press.

Developing supersonic civil aircraft is neither an easy nor inexpensive task. The road is littered with unfinished/failed supersonic designs from well-financed business and commercial aviation OEMs, including Boeing, Gulfstream, Dassault, and Sukhoi. Aerion has taken a slow and steady approach and should not be penalized for taking the time to do proper R&D instead of rushing ahead to rivet metal and fly a prototype that could never get certified. I'd posit that any company rushing to slap a prototype together to build up hype is the one most likely to not be on the up and up – consider the history of Eclipse Aerospace, here. Aerion is no Eclipse.

Show comments (3)