Boom Supersonic, an aerospace company building the world’s fastest civil aircraft, has entered into an agreement with the British company Rolls-Royce to jointly develop the propulsion system of Boom’s flagship supersonic passenger aircraft, Overture. According to Boom Supersonic, at the first stage, the companies intend to determine whether an existing engine architecture can be adapted for supersonic flight. Meanwhile, Boom’s internal team continues to develop the airframe configuration.
Boom Supersonic is currently developing a scaled-down supersonic passenger aircraft demonstrator, called the XB-1 Baby Boom. It is 68 ft (21 m) long, has a 17 ft (5.2 m) wingspan, and a 13,500 lb (6,100 kg) maximum take-off weight. It has a two-crew cockpit and is powered by three General Electric J85 turbojets. The prototype should be able to sustain Mach 2.2 (2,300 km/h) with more than 1,000 nmi (1,900 km) of range and will begin testing flights in 2021.
With the help of the XB-1, the developers intend to test several technologies that can then be used in the project of a full-size prototype of the Overture aircraft. The aircraft is being designed with the latest noise reduction technologies, but will only fly at supersonic speed over the oceans, to prevent the “sonic boom” from disturbing inhabitants of populated areas.
The two companies recognize that supersonic passenger travel must be compatible with a net zero-carbon future, and guarantee that they will work together to accelerate innovation in a sustainable manner.
“We share a strong interest in supersonic flight and in sustainability strategies for aviation with Boom,” said Simon Carlisle, Director of Strategy, Rolls-Royce. “We’re now building on our valuable experience in this space as well as our previous work together to further match and refine our engine technology for Boom’s Overture.”
Boom and Rolls-Royce expect to make significant progress towards finalizing Overture’s aircraft configuration and propulsion system.