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The future of Boom’s supersonic airliner ambitions hangs under the wing of its radically-redesigned Overture airliner. How Boom defines its propulsion in partnership with an established engine maker remains an unfinalized centerpiece of its development that will — quite literally — determine if the project gets off the ground.

Rolls-Royce has been working with Boom to design a conceptual engine for its Mach 1.7 airliner. However, with its studies now complete, Rolls’ CEO Warren East said he wouldn’t commit to a business relationship where the engine maker alone would fund development of supersonic propulsion.

“We’re not making anything speculative for anybody,” said East, who added that speculative meant in the near term: “We’re not spending our dollars on new engine developments. Our new engine developments are around our business jet engines and around our UltraFan. That’s it.”

Related: Rolls-Royce CEO says Pratt & Whitney spin-off ‘might’ guide rekindled collaboration

As part of a wide-ranging on-the-record interview with The Air Current, Rolls-Royce’s outgoing chief executive said, “No,” when asked if the company currently has a development team designing an engine for Boom’s Overture airliner slated to fly in early 2026.

East’s comments on Boom (appended in full transcript below) illuminate the strategic and financial barriers that new aerospace entrants, especially ones so far outside of the normal operating envelope, face on their way to becoming reality.

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Jon Ostrower is Editor-in-chief of The Air Current. Prior to launching TAC in June 2018, Ostrower served as Aviation Editor for CNN Worldwide, guiding the network's global coverage of the business and operations of flying. Ostrower joined CNN in 2016 following four and half years at the Wall Street Journal. Based first in Chicago and then in Washington, D.C. he covered Boeing, aviation safety and the business of global aerospace. Before that, Ostrower was editor of the award-winning FlightBlogger for Flightglobal and Flight International Magazine covering the development of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and other new aircraft programs from 2007 to 2012. Ostrower, a Boston native, graduated from The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs with a bachelor's degree in Political Communication. He is based in Seattle.

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