Aerion is continuing “serious and detailed” discussions with potential aircraft manufacturers about a supersonic jet.
Aerion expects the talks to lead to a joint design study, or proof-of-concept phase, for the $80 million jet. After that, the two partners wold decide whether to move forward with full-scale development and production, the company said.
A proof-of-concept phase would last nine to 12-months.
“We are confident we will reach an agreement with an OEM (original equipment manufacturer),” said Aerion vice chairman Brian Barents, a former Learjet executive, in a statement. “The challenges are many, but there is a desire on the part of all parties to make this happen.”
A partnership would represent the first joint civil supersonic development program in 47 years, the company said.
The discussions are complex ones that involve many technical and business issues, Barents said. “What we can say is that they are movnig in teh right direction.”
Once a proof-of-concept phase is completed, it would take five years to get a supersonic jet to certification and first delivery, the company said. That would in all likelihood mean a 2015 certification, it said.
In the meantime, Aerion is continuing with aerodynamic testing. A series of flight and wind tunnel tests are planned this year.