Boom Supersonic is an American company based in Denver, Colorado. It undertakes to build an American supersonic aircraft, 20 years after the end of the Franco-British Concorde. However, the world of aviation is changing. Airbus has just announced a partnership with ArianeGroup for the design of an electric aircraft.
But Boom Supersonic has other plans. With its ultra high-speed airliner, its future Overture jet, had already been presented in the past. This week the company released first plans for Symphony, the “designed and optimized” propulsion system for this aircraft.
An overpowered engine to meet a tight schedule
Boom explains that he surrounded himself with large companies to build this structure. First, Florida Turbine Technologies helped design the reactor. If this name is less known than Airbus and Boeing, the company already has the confidence of the American army with contracts worth several million dollars.
In addition to this size support, StandardAero should take care of the maintenance. Finally, GE Additive, a subsidiary of the huge General Electric group will take care of the manufacture of metals using 3D printers. The plane should, according to Boom’s plans, be powered by 100% sustainable fuel.
This new engine should therefore not have the slightest carbon footprint, since the manufacture of the fuel and the combustion of the latter cancel each other out. Symphony will reach 35,000 pounds of thrust (155 kN). By comparison, the Concorde was capable of exceeding 152,000 pounds of thrust (677 kN).
A shortfall on the push that still shows the way to go for the company. The engine could be updated in the next few years. The jet’s first test flight is only scheduled for 2027. The company has confirmed that it wants to achieve flight certification by the end of the decade.
A project that questions the future of aviation
Boom is for the moment alone in the world in its development. The historic English manufacturer Rolls-Royce said a few months ago that commercial supersonic flight was not its priority. The most confidential company CFM International is on the same wavelength. Its CEO Gaël Méheust assured in October that there was no significant market for this type of engine”.
Despite these two categorical refusals, Boom assures that it will find a manufacturer for its supersonic engine by the end of the year. For aviation analyst Henry Harteveldt, Boom’s bias can lead them to success or mighty failure.
Producing their own aircraft and engine would put them in a monopoly situation, with patents preventing competition from entering the supersonic flight market. The question being whether any clientele will be interested in such a fast aircraft.
Boom has allies
The other big question is based on the technical capabilities of Boom Supersonic to produce such an engine. If there is mistrust in this market, three airlines go against the grain and publicly support the project. Mike Leskinen, president of United Airliness, seems convinced by the idea of a supersonic flight.
In a press release he declared “to share a common passion for supersonic aviation”. Today Boom Supersonic focuses on transporting business passengers for Atlantic crossings in less than four hours. The Overture should be able to bring between 55 and 80 people per flight.
In addition to this civilian use, the company has support within the US Department of Defense. The creation of a supersonic engine is of interest to the army, which could use it for military purposes in distant theaters of operations. This exit door is not mentioned publicly by Boom Supersonic, but it could allow the company to remain financially stable if the civilian market does not take off.