The memory of that bird-shaped airplane that imposed commercial supersonic flights is still on the retinas of aviation enthusiasts. The legendary Concorde made history. However, the passage of time and the cost of ownership have put it in memory. Today they are already announcing his replacement.
The company that will manufacture the replacement for the legendary Concorde comes from the USA
Today, Aerion announced the manufacture of an aircraft that could double the speed of the Concorde. That is, four times the speed of sound with which 50 passengers are carried on board. The presented virtual prototype is the Aerion AS3, which is offered to commercial airlines. It is assumed that the first operational units will be operational before the end of this decade.
The manufacturing company was founded in 2004 and is based in Reno, Nevada, USA. So far, their task has been to develop supersonic aircraft for private use with a maximum of 10 occupants. These aircraft, which can cross the Atlantic, for example, do not generate the characteristic boom when breaking the sound barrier.
A project that marks a milestone in the history of aviation
The Concorde, which has flown since 1976 and made its farewell flight in 2003, reached a speed of Mach 2.04 (2,180 kilometers per hour). Its commercial replacement promises to fly at Mach 4 (4,190 kilometers per hour). This means that the flight from Madrid to Los Angeles only takes 3 hours. To take into account that the same voyage takes more than 12 hours on a current merchant ship.
Aerion signed a collaboration agreement with NASA to develop this aircraft and other projects. This agreement includes the study of new materials in dynamics and heat for speeds between Mach 2 and Mach 5.
The joint study is necessary because all of the supersonic aircraft projects, including the Concorde, have had thermal problems. Many attempts have failed because the temperature management could not be controlled.
New technologies make it easier to test new designs
With new technologies, designs and tests can be done by computer. At the time of Concorde, all of this testing technology was not available and was conducted on a “trial and error” basis. Artificial intelligence and the development of new materials, together with NASA facilities, will enable the development of AS3. Aerion is also working on the AS2, a 10-seater supersonic aircraft.
The Spanish company Aernnova is responsible for the design and manufacture of part of the fuselage of this aircraft on behalf of Aerion. The AS2, which has already ordered many aircraft, is expected to fly for the first time between 2023 and 2025. The commercial version AS3 will arrive a little later, at the end of this decade, always depending on the advantages of the AS2.