Boom Supersonic has announced a three-year, $60 million investment by the US Air Force that will aid in the development of its commercial Overture jet. The company would also be using the money to develop military versions for the Air Force.
“The goal is to become a prime competitor for future Air Force contracts,” Brian Durrence, senior vice president of Overture development for Boom, told Robb Report. “We want to drive options into the industrial base, but our primary mission is to build a commercial passenger supersonic aircraft.”
An Air Force version of the Overture could be used for executive transport, intelligence, special operations and surveillance.
The Overture is designed to carry 65 to 88 passengers at Mach 1.7 (1300 mph). A flight from New York to London will take 3.5 hours compared to a typical 6.5-hour flight. Boom said the aircraft is designed to run on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
The company said the Air Force’s STRATFI investment will be used for wind-tunnel testing and developing the propulsion system. Durrence said he couldn’t forecast how much time the money would save Boom during its development phase. This is the second Air Force investment in Boom.
“We are proud of the Air Force’s continued support and recognition of Boom’s leadership in supersonic flight,” said Boom CEO Blake Scholl in a statement. “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.”
Boom showed its XB-1 demonstrator model in 2020. The 71-foot-long fuselage was designed for aerodynamic efficiency, with a delta wing and three J85-15 engines by General Electric for supersonic speeds. The XB-1 has yet to make its first flight, though Durrence said it has been undergoing ground-testing at its facility in Colorado. The first flight should happen this year in the Mojave Desert.
United Airlines signed an agreement last June to purchase 15 Overture airliners. The company has previously said it expects to begin manufacturing next year, fly in 2025 and operate commercially by 2029.
Boom and Exosonic remain as potential supersonic jet makers. The longest-running company, Aerion, shut down its operations last May after reporting a lack of investor appetite for the long-term potential of commercial supersonic flight.