Farnborough Air Show 2022: Boom Supersonic – The Lowdown

Photo Credit: BOOM Supersonic

Joint piece produced by James Field & Jamie Clarke – Live Coverage on the Blog Provided by Thomas Saunders

FARNBOROUGH – At this week’s Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) 2022, Boom Supersonic, the newest manufacturer within the global aviation industry to venture into supersonic commercial aviation, have made some impressive announcements in the development of their supersonic Overture aircraft.

With that in mind, let’s give you a low-down of the announcements made at FIA by the company as well as what is in store for the Overture program. 

Decent Starting Capital

BOOM Supersonic already has some good start-up capital and future revenue already. One notable order is from United Airlines, who have ordered 15 Overture aircraft. 

At $200M per jet, this amounts to about $3bn of revenue already. 

That, with the Japan Airlines optional order for 20, valued at $4bn, gives BOOM good potential at thriving and making this project a reality. 

This, on top of overall investment privately, gives BOOM a good opportunity to bring back the era of Supersonic travel. 

The Next Problem to Tackle: Propulsion

One issue that was raised by the press is the fact that there is no engine supplier for Overture yet. 

What we do know is that each Overture aircraft will need four engines. This is two more than the original design layout. 

However, CEO Blake Scholl was keen to note that the company has made more progress on propulsion than they are keen to share. 

This, of course, produces speculation that BOOM is taking on propulsion themselves, as opposed to handing it out to a different supplier. Could this be the case, or will we see another change in thinking later down the road?

Design Changes

The first of the many announcements that Boom has made is that the aircraft has gone through a radical design change. 

With a much sleeker fuselage, more raked wings, triple-bogey landing gear and now four engines instead of two, has resulted in a very different looking aircraft as opposed to what Boom had originally showcased.

The design changes make the aircraft look similar to that of the Boeing 2707-300 from the 1960s, which was the American planemaker’s attempt at Supersonic transport. 

When BOOM announced Overture originally, the aircraft was supposed to be 10 metres shorter and have 7 metres less wingspan than Concorde. 

However, with these new design changes, it makes the aircraft far larger than originally planned.

Overture’s Stats

  • Cruise Speeds – Up to Mach 1.7 supersonic or Mach 0.94 subsonic.
  • Range – 4,250nm (nautical miles) with a full payload.
  • Passengers – Anywhere between 65 to 80.
  • Exterior Dimensions – Length 201ft, Wingspan 106ft, Height 36ft.
  • Interior Dimensions – Length 79ft, Aisle Height 6.5ft.
  • Airframe Materials – The fuselage, wings, vertical and horizontal stabilisers are all made out of composite materials.
  • Flight Controls – Four redundant digital fly-by-wire on two line replaceable units.
  • Engines – Four medium-bypass 100% SAF-compatible turbofan engines that haven’t been announced as to who is manufacturing them or if they will be done in-house at Boom.

Timeline for the Decade

At the briefing today, BOOM Supersonic went into detail regarding timelines for the Overture program, which will span throughout the rest of this decade.

This year, the manufacturer will break ground on its brand new superfactory, which will be used for the production of aircraft for its customers.

By 2024, production of the first Overture aircraft will take place, which will be used for test flights and certification down the road. In the meantime, the XB-1 will be used for prototype testing moving forward.

Within a year after that, the aircraft will then be rolled out for the world to see. By 2026, the first flight will commence with the Overture aircraft.

Testing of Overture will have a three-year period, before entering commercial service and delivery commencements begin in 2029. This means that by the end of the decade, supersonic travel will be in place. 

Different iterations of Overture will also be developed in this time. Overture 2 and 3 will be used to increase the speed of the aircraft as well as place focus on reducing airfares for the consumer. 

Collins Aerospace, EATON and SAFRAN have signed deals with BOOM to support and cooperate on the production of the Overture project too. 

As it continues to build the supply chain for Overture, Boom announced new and expanded relationships. Collins Aerospace, Eaton, and Safran Landing Systems are joining the Overture program, supplying key systems such as landing gear, fuel and inerting, avionics, and ice protection.

Overture for Defence Projects

BOOM Supersonic will also look to use Overture for defence projects. The manufacturer is teaming up with Northrop Grumman to make this a reality. 

“Time is a strategic advantage in high consequence scenarios, from emergency evacuations to disaster response,” said Scholl. 

“This collaboration between Boom and Northrop Grumman unlocks the potential for Overture to provide the US and our allies with an unmatched high speed capability when and where it’s most needed.”

“Pairing Northrop Grumman’s airborne defense systems integration expertise with Boom’s state-of-the-art Overture supersonic aircraft makes perfect sense,” said Tom Jones, president of Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems. 

“Together we can ensure military variants of Overture are tailored for missions where advanced system capabilities and speed are critical.”

Scholl’s Confidence is Promising

Scholl’s confidence towards the program is promising and is also very visible by what he has said at Farnborough too:

“Aviation has not seen a giant leap in decades. Overture is revolutionary in its design, and it will fundamentally change how we think about distance,”

“With more than 600 routes across the globe, Overture will make the world dramatically more accessible for tens of millions of passengers.”

Either way, the plans that BOOM Supersonic have in place are becoming more real by the months and years that have passed. 

With some suppliers now in place to take things to the next level, all eyes are now going to be on BOOM to ensure that this does become a reality, and that sometime in the future, supersonic travel commercially is going to be a thing of the future. 

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