No Major Engine Maker Wants to Work With Boom Supersonic for the Overture Powerplant

Boom Supersonic, the company that aimed to make the supersonic civilian flight a reality once more through the airliner Overture, has hit a snag. Days after Rolls-Royce announced it was terminating the contract with Boom, several other engine manufacturers distanced themselves from the project.
Boom Supersonic is having issues finding a partner to build the supersonic engines for Overture 20 photos
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In 2020, Boom Supersonic announced what was eventually billed as the rebirth of supersonic civilian flight: Overture, scheduled for a 2029 delivery, a supersonic aircraft that could carry up to 80 passengers at speeds of Mach 1.7 (1,304 mph / 2,099 kph), twice as fast as current commercial airliners. In the following months, several airliners, including United and American Airlines, would place pre-orders for dozens of units, with provisions for more farther down the line.

These pre-orders are contingent on Overture meeting all safety standards and regulations, but before that, they’re contingent on the existence of an aircraft. That very existence is now uncertain since it seems like no one wants to build the engines that would power it up.

Flight Global reports that, until last week, Rolls-Royce was involved in the development of the powerplant, but the company announced its exit from the program, having completed engineering studies. Furthermore, Rolls-Royce says that its interest in supersonic aircraft is only tangential at this moment.

Shortly after, other manufacturers that could have possibly helped Boom develop the Overture engine distanced themselves. GE Aviation, Honeywell, and Safran Aircraft Engines are officially out of the picture, with spokespeople for these companies saying the same: supersonic aircraft is not a priority.

Michael Merluzeau, an aerospace consultant with AIR, tells the media outlet that, right now, the only possible candidate standing is International Aero Engines (IAE), but it would take more from Boom to convince it to get into this costly and uncertain undertaking. According to a 2022 report from the International Council on Clean Transportation, a supersonic civilian aircraft, even one burning 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) like Overture, is not efficient. It burns 7-9 times more fuel per passenger per traveled kilometer, which means whatever environmental benefits it brings are canceled by its very high consumption of an already-scarce resource.

“Without an effective propulsion system, this is a program that is not going anywhere any time soon,” Merluzeau says, casting serious doubt over the future of Boom. Meanwhile, Boom is adamant that an engine partner will be announced later this year.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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