Aerion and Lockheed Martin announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Firday to explore the joint development of the world's first supersonic business jet, the Aerion AS2.
Over the next 12 months, the companies will work together to develop a framework on all phases of the program, including engineering, certification and production.
The MOU is the result of extensive discussions between Aerion and Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works Advanced Development Programs team. Skunk Works created the Mach 3+ SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft several decades ago and has worked on developing supersonic technologies with civil and commercial applications.
"Following our initial review of Aerion's aerodynamic technology, our conclusion is that the Aerion AS2 concept warrants the further investment of our time and resources," said Orlando Carvalho, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
During the last two and a half years, Aerion advanced the aerodynamics and structural design of the AS2 through a previous engineering collaboration agreement with Airbus. Through that effort, the two companies developed a preliminary design of wing and airframe structures, systems layout, and preliminary concepts for a fly-by-wire flight control system.
"We are grateful for Airbus' contribution to the program," said Brian Barents, Aerion Executive Chairman. "We could not have moved the program to this stage without their support."
In May 2017, GE Aviation announced an agreement with Aerion to define a supersonic engine for the AS2. The latest announcement with Lockheed Martin further positions Aerion as the leader in the nascent sector of civil supersonic aviation.