With its latest ultra-long-range models skirting the sound barrier in flight test, Gulfstream Aerospace has continued to research supersonic possibilities. However, company president Mark Burns cautions that it could be 10 years before such a supersonic business jet actually reaches the market.
Gulfstream has reported that the G650 and G700 both reached Mach 0.99 in flight test, and when asked if the company was ready to take the leap into supersonic, Burns told reporters that “we certainly look into supersonic flight in our [research and development] center.”
He added that the company has continued to invest in the future product line and “we’re always looking out to what the future may hold.” Burns further credited the technical expertise and “innovative nature” of the company's engineering team.
Having said that, he conceded supersonic flight presents “a tremendous hurdle for anyone to clear.” Noting that Gulfstream’s certified more than 11 aircraft during his tenure with the company, Burns said, “I know the difficulties associated with certifying new and novel technology. So there's a lot to be learned. There's a lot to be done before that type of airplane can be certified.” One of the key obstacles is on the environmental front, he said.
Gulfstream continues to invest in that space, he stressed, “but I think…it's probably a decade away before there's a viable opportunity.”