As supersonic aircraft designer Aerion ceased operations over a lack of available funding, GE Aviation has confirmed that it has discontinued development work on the twin-shaft, medium-bypass Affinity engine that was to have powered the Mach 1.4 Aerion AS2 business jet. GE Aviation also noted that it is redeploying its Affinity team to other programs.
The engine-maker announced plans in October 2018 to move forward with the Affinity for the AS2, saying it would be designed using a “proven engine core adapted from GE’s commercial airline portfolio” with the latest technology full authority digital engine control, an advanced twin-fan, durable combustor, and advanced acoustic technology that would meet or exceed regulatory requirements.
The Affinity, which GE Aviation said would be part of a family in the 16,000- to 20,000-pound-thrust range, was widely believed to have borrowed from the CF56 core while adopting features from its new Passport business jet engine.
GE Aviation did not elaborate beyond acknowledging that work had ceased on the Affinity, but it did note that it remains involved in the supersonic realm with the delivery last year of its F414-GE-100 engine for the NASA X-59 Quiet Supersonic Technology demonstrator. The company handed over two of the 13-foot-long engines, including one that would serve as a backup.
The move comes as competitor Rolls-Royce is expanding its reach into the would-be supersonic market, collaborating with Boom Supersonic under a so-called engagement agreement on the Overture airliner.
It also comes after GE Aviation has eliminated at least 13,000 positions over the past year as it has grappled with the reverberations of the Covid-19 pandemic on the airline industry.
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