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Alabama firm joins project to build new supersonic aircraft

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama firm is partnering with a Colorado company to build a manufacturing facility that would produce supersonic aircraft.

Hoar Program Management of Birmingham will help locate, plan, design and build the facility for Boom Supersonic, which is planning a supersonic commercial airliner for transoceanic routes, the news site reported.

Colorado-based Boom Supersonic was founded in 2014, and has announced pre-orders of the Overture from airlines including Japan Airlines and Virgin Group, the Alabama news site reported.

“They were looking for a partner,” HPM President Mike Lanier said. “We’re humbled by the fact that we’re being brought in this early to help them establish who they are.”

The Overture is described as a supersonic commercial airliner with travel speeds more than twice as fast as subsonic aircraft. Boom is now assembling the XB-1, a Mach-2.2 supersonic demonstrator aircraft. That aircraft’s test flights will help refine the design of Overture, reported.

Boom expects to pick a site for its manufacturing facility by year’s end. HPM has partnered with Site Selection Group to choose a location for the manufacturing plant, and a shortlist of about 10 to 15 airports for the site is being developed, Lanier said.

“Supersonic aircraft have different needs than a normal aircraft,” Lanier said. “That’s in terms of length of runway and proximity to supersonic test space, so that limits the options.”

In Colorado, Boom has a full-time team of more than 130 employees and anticipates doubling its staff over the next year, reported. To accommodate the assembly of XB-1 and development of Overture, Boom recently relocated to a large facility in Centennial, Colorado, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Denver.

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