Company Says Chinese Technology The Key To The Effort
ANN April 1 Special Coverage
Cirrus Design has unveiled plans to build a Supersonic Business Jet using reverse-engineered technology supplied by its Chinese owners. A mockup of the plane, designated the SX50BS-SSBJ, is expected to be on display at this year's NBAA convention in October.
The SSBJ is something of a holy grail for aviation. Cirrus said in a news release that it doesn't really matter if the airplane is feasible, it makes for a great news release. "This has every bit as much of a chance to reach the market as the SF50," a Cirrus insider said to ANN on the condition of anonymity. "If it flies someday, great. In the meantime, we can open the order book and collect position deposits to shore up the bottom line."
The airplane would be built in China, with an eye towards the growing Chinese business aircraft market. "They kind of told us we have to," the source said. "And they're paying the piper so they get to call the tune."
China said they would adapt technology developed for its recently-unveiled fifth-generation military aircraft to begin design work on the SSBJ. An official said that one of the engineering challenges would be adaptation of a full-airframe parachute for the supersonic aircraft. "We have to figure out how to deploy the chute without snapping the airplane in half," the source said. "But once we've got that under control, we're confident this airplane can start deliveries sometime in the 22nd century."