Boom Supersonic and Rolls-Royce will no longer work together on supersonic plane's engine
Boom Supersonic and Rolls-Royce have parted ways.
Boom Supersonic, a company working on the spiritual heir to the Concorde, the supersonic Overture aircraft, explained it will no longer count on the iconic British manufacturer as a supplier, and it will look for a new company to collaborate with on engine development for its commercial supersonic airliners.
In a company statement via Space.com, a spokesperson for Boom said the company is "appreciative of Rolls-Royce's work over the last few years, but it became clear that Rolls' proposed engine design and legacy business model is not the best option for Overture's future airline operators or passengers."
The company also stated that "later this year, we will announce our selected engine partner and our transformational approach for reliable, cost-effective and sustainable supersonic flight."
Rolls-Royce turns its back on supersonic aviation
Boom's wording makes it seem like the company was the one to sever ties with Rolls Royce. However, a report from AIN Online suggests that Rolls-Royce has decided to shift its focus away from the commercial aviation supersonic industry.
"We've completed our contract with Boom and delivered various engineering studies for their Overture supersonic program," Rolls-Royce told AIN Online in a statement. "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."
The two companies announced their partnership in 2020 in a bid to bring sustainable supersonic flight to the masses. According to the AIN report, however, Rolls-Royce may have voiced concerns over Overture's fuel usage. Boom Supersonic penned an initial agreement with United Airlines in 2021 for 15 Overture airliners. The aircraft is slated for delivery in 2025, with test flights in 2026 and the first commercial flights expected by 2029.
Boom claims it will be able to fly passengers from New York to London in approximately three hours, and it will do so using sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs). The aircraft will roughly halve standard travel times by flying at Mach 1.7 over water and Mach 1, the speed of sound, over land. The firm recently unveiled a refined design that it says will make the aircraft more quiet and efficient.
Will Boom Supersonic deliver on its Overture promise?
Boom isn't the only organization aiming to slash commercial flight times by developing supersonic aircraft. NASA is readying for test flights of its experimental X-59 quiet supersonic aircraft, while Virgin Galactic is working on a Mach 3 supersonic airliner.
What will the Overture have that the Concorde didn't, you may ask? In a 2021 interview with IE, Boom Senior VP Brian Durrence said, "the French and British governments [designed the Concorde] to push the limits of technology, not profit. Boom [on the other hand] is leveraging scientific advancements in aerodynamics, materials, and propulsion that will enable efficient and profitable supersonic travel."
Rolls-Royce undoubtedly played an important role in Boom's promise to develop an efficient, profitable aircraft for airlines that is also geared towards sustainability. Now that they've split ways, it will be interesting to see Boom's next move, and what company they will bring in to replace the British engineering giant.
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