Rolls-Royce has apparently shown interest to provide Aerion, an American aircraft manufacturer, with engines for its supersonic business jets. These jets will be able to fly faster than the speed of sound.
In November, Aerion received an order from fractional jet supplier Flexjet for 20 Aerion AS2 supersonic jets worth $2.4bn (£1.6bn, €2.2bn). The first AS2 jet is expected in 2021.
Aerion is working with Airbus to manufacture these jets. According to original plans, these jets were intended to be powered by Pratt & Whitney's JT8D engines. However, in the summer it was decided to make the jets bigger.
This forced the company to drop these engines and instead scout for others because a larger size meant more powerful engines. Also, the company wanted lower emissions from them, according to The Telegraph.
Rolls-Royce's history with Concrode, a supersonic passenger jet airliner that was operated until 2003, along with its experience in producing engines for the Tornado and Typhoon fighters has made the British engineering firm a front runner for the Aerion contract.
Over a decade ago, Concorde's operation was stopped after a crash. This marked the end of commercial supersonic flights. However, Aerion now plans to bring supersonic jets back and is currently manufacturing a private jet with a top speed of Mach 1.6 — around 1,200mph — which will allow flying for 5,000 miles.
Separately, in September it was reported that a consortium of British investors had raised enough funds to buy a Concorde supersonic jet with the aim of putting it back into service as early as 2019.
Chris Young, Rolls' president of civil small and medium engines, said: "We are in discussion with airframe partners all the time, and we often carry out joint design studies and other technical assessments."
Chief executives and billionaires are expected to be some of the first clients for the AS2. With a speed of Mach 1.6, these jets will enable individuals to fly almost anywhere in the world and be back in a day, with a time for a meeting at the destination.
Aerion, which is understood to be in talks with major companies who supply to the business jet market, said its discussions with engine suppliers are "confidential".