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 (earlier post).
The Affinity is a new class of medium-bypass-ratio engines that provide balanced performance across supersonic and subsonic flights. The Affinity integrates a 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 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 with billions of successful and reliable hours of operational service.
A durable combustor with advanced coatings for sustained high-speed operation.
Advanced acoustic technology designed to meet or exceed regulatory requirements.
GE’s additive design & manufacturing technologies to optimize weight & performance.
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 for 2020, signaling the beginning of detailed design and test article production.
Aerion is collaborating with GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin and Honeywell to develop the AS2. The three companies, joined in 2018 by Honeywell for advanced cockpit systems, are developing the Mach 1.4 AS2 supersonic business jet. This 12-passenger jet will save travelers as much as three hours across the Atlantic and five hours across the Pacific. It is as much as 60 percent faster than today’s civil jets. Aerion plans to fly the AS2 in 2023, with certification in 2025.