GE’s Affinity to power the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet

Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed October 16, 2018 15:31

GE’s Affinity to power the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet

GE Aviation has completed the initial design of the first supersonic engine purpose-built for business jets. This new engine class, revealed as GE’s Affinity turbofan, is optimized with proven GE technology for supersonic flight and timed to meet the Aerion AS2 launch.

The Affinity is a new class of medium bypass ratio engines that provide exceptional and balanced performance across supersonic and subsonic flights. The Affinity integrates a unique blend of proven military supersonic experience, commercial reliability and the most advanced business jet engine technologies.

GE’s Affinity is a twin-shaft, twin-fan turbofan controlled by a next generation Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) for enhanced dispatch reliability and onboard diagnostics. It is purposefully designed to enable efficient supersonic flight over water and efficient subsonic flight over land, without requiring modifications to existing compliance regulations. The engine is designed to meet stringent Stage 5 subsonic noise requirements and beat current emissions standards.

GE’s Affinity features efficient performance throughout the full flight envelope with a high-altitude service ceiling of 60,000; an advanced twin-fan with the highest bypass ratio of any supersonic engine; a special, non-augmented supersonic exhaust system; a proven engine core adapted from GE’s commercial airline portfolio; a durable combustor with advanced coatings for sustained high-speed operation; advanced acoustic technology designed to meet or exceed regulatory requirements, as well as GE’s additive design & manufacturing technologies to optimize weight and performance.

“In the last 50 years, business aircraft speeds have increased by less than 10 percent,” said Brad Mottier, GE Vice President and General Manager for Business and General Aviation & Integrated Services. “Instead of going faster, cabins have increased in size and become more comfortable – and range has become longer. With large, comfortable cabin, long range aircraft in the marketplace, the next step is speed . . . made possible with GE’s Affinity.”

After two years of a preliminary study, GE Aviation and Aerion launched a formal process in May of 2017 to define and evaluate a final engine configuration for the AS2 supersonic business jet. A GE Project team, supported by a dedicated Engineering team, continue to work with Aerion in a formal and gated process. The next design review is targeted 2020, signaling beginning of detailed design and test article production.

Aerion is collaborating with GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell to develop the AS2.

“Our mission is to enhance global mobility with supersonic speed, starting with business aviation, and following with successively faster and larger designs for business and commercial aviation,” said Aerion CEO Tom Vice. “GE Aviation is making this new efficient, sustainable supersonic era possible through its pioneering work on the Affinity engine.”

He added: “We’re on track to fly in 2023, and before that year is out cross the Atlantic at supersonic speed, which will be the first supersonic crossing since the Concorde’s retirement 20 years earlier….We’ve overcome some huge technical hurdles and we’re confident we’ll meet Stage 5 takeoff and landing noise requirements. We’ve made strides in structures and systems. We’re recruiting top tier suppliers. And we’re attracting the best and brightest engineering talent to the program as we grow our organization.”

Image: Aerion Supersonic
Eleanor Steed
By Eleanor Steed October 16, 2018 15:31