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Farnborough 2022: Northrop Grumman to explore military derivatives of Overture supersonic airliner

An artist's impression of how the Boom Overture supersonic airliner might look in a military role. (Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman is to explore options for creating military derivatives of the Boom Overture supersonic airliner, with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) announced at the Farnborough Airshow.

Speaking to Janes on 19 July, Tom Jones, president of Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, said that the MOU with Boom Supersonic builds on the company's long-standing history of adapting commercial aircraft for military missions, and is in line with its strategy of seeking out and developing new and novel solutions to tomorrow's operational requirements.

“We have a history of working with ‘green' aeroplane modification, going back decades with the J-STARS [signals intelligence aircraft based on the 707 airliner], so this [Boom MOU] is a great opportunity for us to bring the company legacy of aeronautical system design and trying to figure out the [military] payloads,” Jones said. “Northrop Grumman is always out looking for new innovative companies that can help us further our mission of providing security solutions for the United States and our allies. As part of that, we are always looking for potential technology disruptors.”

Boom rolled out its XB-1 demonstrator aircraft in 2020. As noted by Janes All the World's Aircraft: Development & Production , the XB-1 is a single-seat, composite, delta-wing technology demonstrator aircraft powered by three General Electric J85-GE-21 turbojet engines. The XB-1 is a one-third size demonstrator for Boom's planned Overture commercial supersonic aircraft.

Designed and built in the US, the first Overture aircraft will be in production for commercial use in 2024, start flight tests in 2026, and begin carrying passengers in 2029.

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