A supersonic commercial aircraft that could fly between London and New York in just three hours has been given the green light for production.
The AS2 jet, which is being manufactured by Aerion and Airbus, could also travel from Tokyo to San Francisco in just six hours.
Dubbed the ‘son of Concorde’, the AS2 could have its first test flights as early as 2021.
The first official flights could take place by 2023.
The supersonic jet should be able to fly at speeds of Mach 1.5 over water where noise is not restricted.
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That’s only slightly slower than Concorde, which flew at speeds of up to 2,500 mph, a fact that gave the AS2 its nickname.
The jet will accommodate 12 passengers in spacious surroundings.
There are plans to build 600 jets over the next 20 years at a cost of $110 million each.
The aircraft is being developed with a range of cutting edge features, including carbon fibre wings that mean the jet can run on less fuel and landing equipment that minimises space in the fuselage when stowed.
Initial designs for the AS2’s interior
“We see clear and achievable technical solutions to the design of a supersonic jet, and a realistic road-map for helping Aerion proceed toward construction and flight,” said Ken McKenzie, senior vice president for strategy and corporate development at Airbus.
Aerion is looking for a 100 acre site on an existing airport, near water, to start manufacturing and testing the jet.