The US Air Force recently provided a startup, JetZero, with $235m to develop a full-scale technology demonstrator of a blended-wing-body (BWB) aircraft which is expected to be flying by early 2027.
A subsidiary of Northrop Grumman (Scaled Composites) will build the prototype, which makes the project and its timescale distinctly credible. The demonstrator is expected to have half the fuel consumption of its conventional equivalent.
The new shape benefits from the cumulative gains from a much high lift/drag ratio, plus a more efficient structure in lighter but stronger materials, and its engines will be geared turbofans.
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