Boom Supersonic wins USAF contract to accelerate Overture commercial airliner development

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | January 12, 2022

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 1 seconds.

Boom Supersonic, an aerospace company aiming to build the world’s fastest and most sustainable supersonic airliner, announced on Jan. 11 that it has entered into a three-year strategic partnership with the U.S. Air Force to accelerate research and development on Boom’s commercial airliner, dubbed Overture.

The contract, valued at up to $60 million, was awarded to Boom through the Air Force’s innovation arm, known as AFWERX, and its AFVentures division, which helps to accelerate commercial technologies. Boom said this is “one of the program’s largest investments and a significant commitment to the future of supersonic aviation.”

Boom Supersonic Overture commercial airliner
A rendering of Boom Supersonic’s Overture aircraft. Boom Image

Referred to as the Strategic Funding Increase, or STRATFI, this contract also represents a substantial increase in the Air Force’s financial investment in Boom, following the Small Business Innovation Research Phase 2 contract awarded in September 2020.

STRATFI funding is expected to fast-track “critical design and development initiatives on Overture.” This includes wind tunnel testing and propulsion system definition.

Boom Supersonic founder and CEO, Blake Scholl, said the company sees its partnership with the U.S. Air Force as “mutually beneficial,” and will ensure the U.S. remains at the forefront of supersonic commercial development.

“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,” Scholl added.

A derivative of Overture “could offer the Air Force a future strategic capability in rapid global transport and logistics,” the supersonic aircraft manufacturer said.  

Potential users and applications include executive transport; Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance; Special Operations Forces; and the Pacific Air Forces.

According to Boom, the Overture supersonic airliner will carry 65 to 88 passengers at speeds of Mach 1.7, which is twice the speed of today’s fastest airliners. The aircraft is also being designed to run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel, which aligns with Boom’s goal to bring to market the first large commercial aircraft that is net-zero carbon “from day one.”

In mid-2021, Chicago-based United Airlines announced a commercial agreement with Boom to purchase 15 Overture airliners, with an option for an additional 35 aircraft, making it the first U.S. airline to sign an agreement for Boom’s Overture. The agreement is contingent on Overture meeting “United’s demanding safety, operating, and sustainability requirements.”

The Overture supersonic airliner is slated to enter manufacturing in 2023, with a 2025 roll out. The goal is to begin flying passengers by the end of the decade.

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