The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boom Supersonic a three-year contract valued up to $60 million, establishing a strategic partnership that furthers development of the company’s commercial supersonic aircraft program that is also a potential platform for the service, according to the company.
The Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) contract was awarded by the Air Force’s innovation arm, AFWERX, and will accelerate critical design and development work on Overture, Boom’s supersonic commercial airliner concept set to enter production in 2023, the company said Tuesday.
The Denver, Colorado-based startup, which launched in 2014, aims to build the fastest supersonic airliner.
Boom is currently developing its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator, which was formally revealed in October 2020, and Overture, a 65-88 passenger, Mach 1.7 supersonic airliner. Both the XB-1 and Overture share key technologies, such as advanced carbon fiber composites and a refined delta wing.
Overture is slated to roll out in 2025. It’s expected to carry passengers by 2029, according to the company. The aircraft is designed to run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuels and will cost about $200 million per copy.
“[A] derivative of Overture could offer the Air Force a future strategic capability in rapid global transport and logistics,” the company said. “Potential users and applications include executive transport; intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance; special operations forces; and the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).”
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The partnership between the Air Force and the supersonic aircraft manufacturer is “mutually beneficial,” Boom founder and CEO Blake Scholl said in a statement.
“With STRATFI, we’re able to collaborate with the Air Force on the unique requirements and needs for global military missions, ultimately allowing Boom to better satisfy the needs of the Air Force where it uses commercially-derived aircraft,” Scholl said. “As a potential future platform for the Air Force, Overture would offer the valuable advantage of time, an unmatched option domestically and internationally.”
The contract is the second awarded by the service to Boom in little more than a year. In September 2020, the Air Force awarded a contract to Boom to explore use of the Overture aircraft for DOD executive transport of top military and government leadership.
“The United States Air Force is constantly looking for technological opportunities to disrupt the balance of our adversaries,” Brig. Gen. Ryan Britton, program executive officer for Presidential and Executive Airlift Directorate, said at the time. “Boom is an example of the American ingenuity that drives the economy forward through technological advances. We are extremely excited to team with them as we work to shrink the world and transform the future of executive airlift.”