If you’re developing a commercial jet, receiving a $60 million investment (AU$82.4 million) from the US Air Force definitely doesn’t hurt. The team at Boom Supersonic could tell you this fact firsthand, having garnered this specific type of support for the development of its commercial Overture jet; and its military counterpart to be used for executive transport, intelligence, special operations, and surveillance.
Designed to carry between 65 and 88 passengers at Mach 1.7 (1,193 km/h), a flight on the Overture from New York to London will take 3.5 hours, compared to a typical 6.5-hour flight. Boom has also made the claim that the aircraft is designed to run on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The US Air Force funding grant (otherwise known as STRATFI) is the second we have seen from the Air Force towards Boom, with this one to be used specifically for wind-tunnel testing and developing the propulsion system. In a statement, Boom CEO Blake Scholl said, “We are proud of the Air Force’s continued support and recognition of Boom’s leadership in supersonic flight.”
“With STRATFI, we’re able to collaborate with the Air Force on the unique requirements and needs for global military missions, ultimately allowing Boom to better satisfy the needs of the Air Force where it uses commercially derived aircraft.”
Back in 2020, we got a look at the XB-1 demonstrator model from Boom which showed similar promise. The 71-foot-long fuselage was designed for aerodynamic efficiency, which helped it achieve its supersonic speeds when combined with a delta wing and three J85-15 engines by General Electric. The XB-1 has yet to make its first flight, it has been undergoing ground-testing at its facility in Colorado. The first flight is expected to happen this year in the Mojave Desert.
United Airlines is also a name in the mix after they signed their own agreement last June, to purchase 15 Overture airliners for their own fleet. The Boom Supersonic Overture Jet is expected to begin manufacturing next year, fly in 2025, and operate commercially by 2029.