Symphony: Boom Supersonic announces it will develop its own aircraft engine

The supersonic aircraft startup parted ways with Rolls-Royce earlier this year.
Chris Young
An artist's impression of Overture.
An artist's impression of Overture.

Boom Supersonic 

Boom Supersonic, the company aiming to take commercial supersonic airliners back to the skies, now has plans to build a new proprietary engine.

The company announced that its Overture supersonic plane would be powered by Symphony, a new engine that will be "designed and optimized" for the aircraft, as per a press statement.

Boom Supersonic finds Rolls-Royce replacements

Boom Supersonic was hit with a major setback earlier this year when Rolls-Royce announced it would no longer collaborate with Boom on developing a supersonic aircraft engine. The iconic British engineering firm explained that it had "determined that the commercial aviation supersonic market is not currently a priority."

Boom explained in its statement that it will now partner with three organizations to develop a new engine called Symphony. These are Florida Turbine Technologies (FTT) for engine design, GE Additive for consulting on 3D printing technologies, and StandardAero for maintenance.

Though the new partners aren't quite as well known as Rolls-Royce, the parent company of FTT, Kratos, was recently awarded $54M to develop a low-cost engine for the US Air Force.

"The team at FTT has a decades-long history of developing innovative, high-performance propulsion solutions," FTT president Stacey Rock said in the statement. "We are proud to team with Boom and its Symphony partners and look forward to developing the first bespoke engine for sustainable, economical supersonic flight."

The new Symphony engine

Boom's new in-development Symphony engine is a medium-bypass turbofan system that will produce net zero carbon and emit 35,000 pounds of takeoff thrust. Its low-weight materials will help it reduce operating costs by 10 percent compared to other supersonic engines.

Now that the Symphony project is underway, Boom says its Overture aircraft will go into production in 2024, and it has a first test flight scheduled for 2027. The company is aiming to be flight certified by 2029. The supersonic aircraft company recently announced a redesign for Overture, which will see it carry fewer passengers to make it quieter and more efficient.

Symphony: Boom Supersonic announces it will develop its own aircraft engine
A concept render of Boom's Symphony engine.

Some experts have called those timelines into question, given the challenge of developing a new supersonic engine. Dr. Chris Combs, an Assistant Professor in Aerodynamics at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), explained on Twitter that Boom has an "interesting group of collaborators, but when you're basically starting from scratch on the engine, their current timeline (2027 flight) seems ... challenging."

Boom has dealt with United Airlines, American Airlines, and Japan Airlines to buy a number of its in-development aircraft. In an interview with IE last year, Boom Supersonic Senior VP, Brian Durrence, said the company wants to "remove the barriers to experiencing the planet" for people. The company says it will eventually enable flights from New York to London in only 3.5 hours.

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