In the business world, time is money (and bragging rights). In April, the Citation X took said rights from the Gulfstream G650 with its maximum speed of Mach 0.935. Another contender could soon be on the tarmac in the form of the Saker S-1. With a design inspired by military fighter jets, US-based Saker Aircraft says its S-1 will cruise at Mach 0.95 and reach a top speed of Mach 0.99.

In keeping with its military jet inspiration, the S-1 is a tandem two-seater. This includes the pilot’s seat, so this “luxury” jet is aimed at those that consider time more of a luxury than comfort. However, the extra speed should translate to less time spent in the air, with Saker calculating the S-1 will shave an hour off a 1,500 nautical mile (2,778 km/1,726 mile) flight compared to its closest competitor.

The S-1 is also being designed to handle take-off and landing from runways as short as 1,500 ft (457 m) and climb at a rate of 14,000 ft/min (4,267 m/min). Saker anticipates the aircraft will have a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (13,720 m) and a maximum range of 1,600 miles (2,575 km) with its internal 500 gal (1,890 L) tank. However, two external 100 gal (380 L) pods can be added to increase the range to 2,200 miles (3,540 km).

Measuring 40.5 ft (12.3 m) long, 15 ft (4.6 m) high and with a wingspan of 27 ft (8 m), the S-1’s compact size should also keep hangar costs down. It has an empty weight of 5,500 lb (2,495 kg) and can carry a maximum payload of 6,000 lb (2,720 kg).

It will be powered by two Williams FJ44-4 engines that boast a 5,000 hour time before overhaul (TBO), which Saker says gives the S-1 an estimated operating cost of US$2 per nautical mile. Saker adds that the engines, combined with the S-1’s aerodynamic profile, will result in an aircraft that uses 20 percent less fuel than its competitors.

Despite its looks, Saker says no military training will be required to fly the S-1, which has a stall speed of 90 knots. The aircraft’s cockpit, systems and aerodynamics have all been designed so it can be handled by any properly trained pilot. And if the pilot isn’t up to the task, Saker will also offer the option of ejection seats.

Saker says the majority of the S-1 will be designed and manufactured in North America, and although the aircraft is still in the design phase, Saker has taken the ambitious step of accepting pre-orders. We’ve written requesting pricing and release info and will keep you posted.

Update (6/4/2013): We've been informed that Saker Aircraft is aiming for a price in the US$5 to $7 million range, depending on custom features, with hopes that if the certification process runs smoothly deliveries will begin in 2019. The company points out that since the S-1 is still at the concept stage, there will likely be some changes and improvements to ensure the aircraft meets regulatory requirements.

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