While work continues on its XB-1 prototype supersonic plane ahead of a planned unveiling later in the year, aviation startup Boom Supersonic is pressing ahead with the development of its flagship model, the Overture. These efforts have today received a significant shot in the arm, with the company announcing a new partnership with Rolls-Royce to collaborate on the propulsion systems for what may become the world’s fastest civil aircraft.Boom emerged back in 2016 with grand plans for supersonic commercial travel offered at business class prices. The XB-1 demonstrator was announced in the same year, with the one-third scale prototype being designed and built to fly at cruising speeds of Mach 2.2 (1,451 mph or 2,335 km/h).
The Overture is the vehicle by which Boom hopes to translate these developments into a commercial service. The company has actually collaborated with Rolls-Royce at different points of its journey so far, but today has announced a new deal that formalizes these arrangements and will explore how the engine maker’s expertise could be leveraged to pair an advanced propulsion system with the airframe of a supersonic passenger aircraft.
“We’ve had a series of valuable collaborations and co-locations with Rolls-Royce over the past years to lay the groundwork for this next phase of development,” says Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO. “We look forward to building on the progress and rapport that we’ve already built with our collaboration as we work to refine Overture’s design and bring sustainable supersonic transport to passenger travel.”
Boom says that sustainability will be a key consideration as it moves ahead with development of Overture, and the two teams will also investigate the possibility of adapting existing engine architecture for supersonic flight.
“We share a strong interest in supersonic flight and in sustainability strategies for aviation with Boom,” says 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.”