Boom Supersonic hopes to pick an engine to power its developmental airliner programme next year as it works towards service entry in 2023 for the 55-passenger aircraft.
Speaking at a Dubai show press conference, company founder and chief executive Blake Scholl said there were “a couple of options in front of us for the production engine”.
The start-up is “working through” several possibilities, including a derivative of a current commercial engine or a clean-sheet powerplant for the supersonic airliner.
However, he says it is unlikely that an existing military engine would be selected for the mission. “Certainly that is not our Plan A – there is a level of complexity with export controls,” he notes.
Plans disclosed by the company indicate that it will use three non-afterburning, medium-bypass turbofan engines for the Mach 2.2 airliner.
In addition, Boom will in early 2018 issue a request for proposals covering the location of its future production facility.
The factory will be sized for assembly of up to 100 aircraft per year, says Scholl, against a forecast market of 1,000-2,000 examples over a 10-year period.
Scholl expects to select a site around six to months after the request for proposals is issued, with construction to take 12-24 months.
Under Boom’s plans, the operating economics of the supersonic passenger jet will allow a ticket price of about $ 5,000 – the equivalent to current business-class fares.
Those operating figures are enabled by several factors, he says, including “fuel-burn parity with subsonic business-class”.
Boom will in 2018 fly a one-third-scale demonstrator aircraft to validate its design and control laws. Initial sorties will take place in Colorado, likely from Centennial airport near Denver.
Supersonic test flights will then transition to Mojave, California, using the supersonic flight corridor associated with Edwards AFB.
Boom has so far amassed 76 orders for the supersonic type “from multiple world airlines”, says Scholl. Conversations are taking place with around 20 further carriers, he says.
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