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Lockheed Partners with Aerion for Supersonic Jets

Passengers could plan a day trip from New York to London and back.

The AS2 is a supersonic business jet from Aerion, a company based out of Reno, Nevada that wants to make air travel ... swifter. Since the company was founded in 2003, Aerion has partnered with Airbus, NASA and other institutions to create advanced wing technology.

The work lead to breakthroughs in supersonic natural laminar flow, which could allow the 12-passenger AS2 to fly up to Mach 1.4 over water, and Mach 1.2 over land. That means that passengers could plan a day trip from New York to London and back.

On previous iterations, the AS2's three engines were grouped in the back of the aircraft. A new configuration pulls the two outboard engines forward, under the wing, while the 3rd remains in the tail. The turbofan engines generate 18,000-pounds of thrust, and the new configuration improves weight, balance and systems layout, as well simplifies some certification requirements.

Last week, Aerion partnered with another aerospace powerhouse when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Lockheed Martin. The two companies will work together over the next 12 months to create a framework for the for the AS2 program, including engineering, certification and production.

Lockheed does have some experience when it comes to supersonic aircraft. You may have heard of the F-16, F-35, F-22, and the SR-71, which can go faster than Mach 3. Aerion will work closely with Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works Advanced Development Programs team.

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