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Northrop Grumman unveils ‘supersonic aircraft’ project

written by Adam Thorn | July 20, 2022

Northrop Grumman has entered into a cooperative agreement with Boom Supersonic — aimed at proposing special mission variants of Boom’s Overture supersonic aircraft.

The aircraft will be designed to carry up to 80 passengers at twice the speed of currently deployed platforms, with the potential to support government and military missions requiring rapid response.

The proposed supersonic aircraft could potentially be used to deliver medical supplies, provide for emergency medical evacuation or survey vast areas faster than conventional aircraft.

According to Northrop Grumman, the special mission Overture variant could also be used to coordinate other aircraft and ground assets in a variety of scenarios.

“Pairing Northrop Grumman’s airborne defence systems integration expertise with Boom’s advanced Overture supersonic aircraft demonstrates the power of collaborations like this for the benefit of our customers,” Tom Jones, president, Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems said.

“Together we can ensure our military customers have variants of Overture for missions where advanced system capabilities and speed are critical.”

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Blake Scholl, founder and chief executive officer of Boom Supersonic, noted the benefits of developing a platform capable of travelling at faster speeds than conventional aircraft.

“Time is a strategic advantage in high-consequence scenarios, from military operations to disaster response,” Scholl said.

“This collaboration between Boom and Northrop Grumman unlocks Overture’s unmatched high-speed mission capability for the United States and its allies.”

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The first Overture aircraft, to be designed and constructed in the United States, is expected to be in production for commercial use in 2024, with flight tests scheduled to commence in 2026 and passenger flights in 2029.

This announcement comes just days after Raytheon Missiles & Defense and Northrop Grumman confirmed a second successful flight test of the scramjet-powered Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapon Concept (HAWC) in cooperation with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the US Air Force.

Drawing from results from the first flight test, the exercise aimed to mature the operationally relevant weapon concept design.

HAWC was released from an aircraft and accelerated to hypersonic speeds leveraging the scramjet engine, with the vehicle flying a trajectory that engineers designed to intentionally stress the weapon concept and explore its limits.

The test reportedly achieved all primary and secondary objectives, which included demonstrating tactical range capabilities.

5 Comments

  • Geof

    says:

    Some very fanciful claims there. In production for commercial use by 2024? What a complete joke. Passenger service by 2029? That’s so ridiculous. I can’t believe people are publishing this.

    Obviously that will not happen anywhere near this decade.

    Even a conventional aircraft 1/10th of that size wouldn’t make that time frame. Yet we’re expected to believe that a supersonic 80 seat commercial aircraft will be designed, built, tested, certified and in passenger service in just 7 years?

  • Mike Borgelt

    says:

    Now looks like a scale model of Boeing 2707-300 from 1970. Smaller and slower though.

  • David

    says:

    Hmmm. It looks disturbingly like the Boeing 2707-300 after they gave up on variable sweep. And now we have 4 engines? Back to the past? And I see in some renderings that the windows have returned to a realistic size.

    Turbojets are actually ideal for supersonic flight because of their high exhaust gas velocity. If these engines are turbofans, they will have to be VERY high thrust and very low bypass to supercruise and low bypass engines are noisy….

    Podded engines also mean higher drag. Physics is a cruel mistress.

    Genius aspects of Concorde were the Olympus 593’s computer-controlled intake ramp-doors and multi-stage exhaust that created around 60% of the thrust at Mach 2.0, with the core providing the rest. (Details at HeritageConcorde)

    As a Mach 2.0 supercruiser for 3+ hours, – something no other aircraft has ever achieved, Concorde was extremely fuel efficient. This aircraft needs to supercruise like Concorde, or it is a non-starter.

    Apparently this aircraft will not have selective reheat (afterburner) like Concorde but it will supercruise through the Mach Drag rise between M 0.95 and M 1.3?

    Now let’s talk about composites and heat soaking…

  • Rob

    says:

    No supersonic aircraft will ever again use podded engines!! The Concorde wing design was near perfect with engines
    designed for that aircraft’s purpose. Any designer working on a “new” supersonic airliner would be best-served by
    re-visiting Concorde’s fuselage & wing with purpose-designed engines & greater fuel capacity. 100 seats would
    seem to be a minimum requirement with at least 5000nm range at Mach 2.

  • Trav

    says:

    Wow 👌

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