After being shunned by the civilian market, Boom Supersonic will team up with a primarily military-focused manufacturer, Kratos Defense, to develop an engine capable of powering supersonic airliners.
Kratos’ Florida Turbines Technologies will lead the design of the engine and will assemble “some of the first engines,” Boom Chief Executive Officer Blake Scholl explained, as quoted by Reuters.
Boom is attempting to revive the concept of a supersonic airliner, last explored by the legendary Concorde in the 1970s.
The Overture, Boom’s proposed aircraft, is planned to reach a speed of Mach 1.7 (about 2,100 kilometers per hour) and carry 65 to 88 passengers. That speed would allow going from New York to London in three hours and 30 minutes, against six hours and 30 minutes today.
An unexpected ally
Kratos is behind the successful development of the XQ-58 Valkyrie stealth combat drone, which is currently being tested by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory.
Boom had experienced a period of uncertainty in which it failed to attract the participation of civilian engine makers.
In September 2022, Rolls-Royce pulled out of Boom’s supersonic jet project two years after signing a collaboration agreement.
“After careful consideration, Rolls-Royce has determined that the commercial aviation supersonic market is not currently a priority for us and, therefore, will not pursue further work on the program at this time,” Rolls-Royce said in a statement to AeroTime back then.
In October 2022, CFM International expressed a similar sentiment, saying that its primary focuses were emissions and fuel performance.
“I don’t see this market being significant enough to divert investment into a supersonic engine,” CFM Chief Executive Officer Gaël Méheust said during the ALTA AGM & Airline Leaders Forum.
But this did not prevent Boom from convincing airlines. In June 2022, United Airlines signed an agreement with Boom Supersonic to purchase 15 Overture airliners, with an option for 35 more aircraft.