Boom Supersonic, on Oct. 7, unveiled its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft, history’s first independently developed supersonic jet.
XB-1, nicknamed “Baby Boom”, is the demonstrator airplane for Boom’s under-development Overture supersonic commercial airliner and a critical step toward mainstream supersonic travel.
The company said that the XB-1 will prove key technologies for safe, efficient, and sustainable supersonic travel. Boom’s innovations include developing one of the highest-efficiency civil supersonic engine intakes ever tested, demonstrating Boom’s ability to deliver a breakthrough in propulsive efficiency for Overture.
According to Boom, XB-1 is slated to fly for the first time in 2021 and will undergo a 100% carbon-neutral flight test program.
“Boom continues to make progress towards our founding mission—making the world dramatically more accessible,” said Blake Scholl, Boom founder and CEO. “XB-1 is an important milestone towards the development of our commercial airliner, Overture, making sustainable supersonic flight mainstream and fostering human connection.”
Boom’s XB-1 virtual rollout highlighted some of XB-1’s notable features including:
• Shape: XB-1’s 71-foot-long fuselage has been optimally shaped for high-speed aerodynamic efficiency.
• Materials: The carbon-composite airframe maintains its strength and rigidity, even under the high temperatures and stresses of supersonic flight.
• Wing: The delta wing balances low-speed stability at takeoff and landing with high-speed efficiency.
• Propulsion: Three J85-15 engines, designed by General Electric (GE) Aviation, provide more than 12,000 pounds of thrust, allowing XB-1 to fly at breakthrough supersonic speeds.
• Cockpit ergonomics: Guidance and feedback from XB-1’s test pilots played a key role in cockpit design, which was the product of hundreds of hours of human factors and usability testing.
• Forward vision system: XB-1 leverages a high-resolution video camera and cockpit display to give pilots a virtual window through the nose, providing superior runway visibility for landing.
XB-1 will now complete its ongoing, extensive ground test program before heading to Mojave, California in 2021 for flight test. At the same time, the company will finalize Overture’s propulsion system and conduct wind tunnel tests to validate aircraft design.
When XB-1 breaks the sound barrier in flight, Boom will be finalizing the design of Overture, whose own rollout is on track for 2025.
Last month, Boom Supersonic was awarded a contract by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to fund explorations of a Boom Overture configuration designed for Air Force executive transport.