Boom Supersonic used the recent Paris Air Show to provide more details of its XB-1 supersonic demonstrator aircraft due to fly next year as the Denver, Colorado-based start-up company works towards developing a supersonic airliner.
An external review verifying the XB-1 design meets performance and safety standards ahead of component manufacturing and assembly has led to some design changes since Boom announced the XB-1 last autumn. The XB-1 now has a third inlet in the tail to provide greater propulsion system stability and a modified vertical tail to improve performance in crosswind conditions.
The two-seat XB-1 will be 68ft (20m) in length, have a 17ft (5m) wingspan, a 15,400lb (6,985kg) maximum take-off weight and a Mach 2.2 cruise speed. With a refined delta wing and swept trailing edge, the aircraft will be powered by three non-afterburning General Electric J85-21 engines featuring proprietary variable-geometry intakes and exhausts.
The XB-1 will use Honeywell avionics, Tencate carbon fibre and Stratasys 3D-printed components. Final assembly and vehicle integration is taking place at Boom’s facility at Centennial Airport. Subsonic flight testing will be conducted near Denver and supersonic test flights near Edwards Air Force Base. Boom’s plans call for the XB-1 to demonstrate technologies that can be put into a supersonic airliner seating up to 55 passengers (plus two pilots and four flight attendants). This followon aircraft will be 170ft (51m) long, have a 60ft (18m) wingspan, a Mach 2.2 long-range cruise speed and 9,000nm (16,668km) range.
Boom says it has secured 76 orders for this planned aircraft from five airlines. Blake Scholl, the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Airlines are excited for something new and different to offer their passengers.” Last November Virgin Group chairman Sir Richard Branson revealed Virgin Atlantic had signed for ten aircraft. Virgin Galactic is to assist with manufacturing and testing through its manufacturing arm, The Spaceship Company.