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Bass-backed Aerion gives peek at supersonic airliner

A new supersonic commercial airliner with some Fort Worth connections was announced on Monday, March 29.

Aerion, which is backed by Robert Bass, announced that its AS3TM will reach speeds of Mach 4-plus or nearly 4000 mph, with the ability to fly up to 50 passengers for 7,000 nautical miles. The AS3TM would enable flight between Los Angeles and Tokyo in less than three hours. The Melbourne, Florida-based company said the AS3 will make its first flight before the end of the decade.

It will build upon the Aerion’s AS2 supersonic business jet to bring the company’s innovation to commercial air transportation. Aerion says production of the AS2 will begin in 2023. The company is also building a new 100-acre headquarters and production facility in Melbourne. The facility will produce up to 300 AS2 jets annually. In February, the company announced that fractional airplane provider NetJets has pre-ordered 20 AS2 aircraft.

“At Aerion, our vision is to build a future where humanity can travel between any two points on our planet within three hours, said Aerion Chairman, President & CEO Tom Vice in a news release. “Supersonic flight is the starting point, but it is just that – the beginning. To truly revolutionize global mobility as we know it today, we must push the boundaries of what is possible. The AS3TM forms the next step in our long-term technology roadmap and will bring Aerion’s high Mach flight capability to a broader audience; we look forward to sharing more on our design later this year.”

Earlier this year, Aerion expanded its partnership with NASA’s Langley Research Center. The company said it plans to accelerate “the realization of commercial high-speed flight and faster point-to-point travel, specifically studying commercial flight in the Mach 3-5 range [2302 mph to 3836 mph].”

In January, Aerion said it had finalized an agreement with Haskell, an integrated design, engineering and construction firm, as the design-build lead for the development of Aerion Park. The new state-of-the-art campus will form Aerion’s global headquarters and will house production of the AS2 business jet.

Aerion in December purchased 100 bicycles and donated $1,000 to support American Aero FTW’s annual toy drive benefiting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.

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