On August 16, 2022, American Airlines announced an agreement to purchase 20 Boom Supersonic Overture commercial jets with an option for an additional 40. American, the world’s largest airline by volume, follows United Airlines, Japan Airlines and the Virgin Group in pre-ordering the supersonic jetliner. Virgin Galactic subsidiary, The Spaceship Group, is also a Boom partner in the manufacturing and testing of the new aircraft along with the U.S. Air Force.
On January 11, 2022, Boom announced that it entered into a three-year strategic partnership with the U.S. Air Force valued at up to $60 million. Specifically, the company was awarded a $7 million Small Business Innovation Research contract. Boom is an equal partner in the contract which brings the output value up to $14 million. The contract has a ceiling of $60 million.
Known as the Strategic Funding Increase, the STRATFI contract is a major investment. Under the AFVentures Division of AFWERX, the Air Force’s innovation arm, the partnership between Boom and the Air Force aims to accelerate supersonic research and secure the future of the American aerospace industry in supersonic aviation. STRATFI is a followup, and significant increase, from the service’s 2020 investment to fund explorations of an Overture configuration designed for Air Force executive transport.
During the latter half of the 20th century, the American aviation industry was part of the worldwide race to build a supersonic transport. The FAA and the Air Force even partnered to test the effect of regular supersonic flight on a city. Of course, the joint British-French Concorde and the Soviet Union’s Tu-144 were the only SSTs to reach production and use. Although the high operating cost caused SSTs to fall out of favor, the appeal of cutting flight times in half remains.
To address the environmental and financial blunders of previous SSTs, Boom’s Overture is designed to run on 100% sustainable aviation fuels. In fact, the company expects it to be the first large commercial aircraft to be net zero carbon from day one. Boom is scheduled to begin manufacturing the Overture in 2023 with a rollout in 2025 and first flight in 2026. With the Air Force’s help, supersonic passenger flights could resume within the decade.
Feature Image: Boom Supersonic