Boeing Frontiers
June 2002 
Volume 01, Issue 02 
Top Stories Inside Quick Takes Site Tools
Phantom Works
X-45A makes HISTORY

The Boeing X-45A Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle took to the skies May 22 above the Mojave Desert, marking the maiden flight of the world’s first such plane built specifi-cally for combat.

The successful flight of the X-45A technology demonstrator clears the way for further testing, new refinements and a larger, more capable B-model already under development.

The X-45A has a stealthy, tailless airframe with a 34-foot wingspan. It weighs 8,000 pounds empty and will carry a variety of precision strike munitions including the Small Diameter Bomb and the GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition. Other smaller unmanned air vehicles, which have been flown operationally in military operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan and elsewhere, were originally designed for surveillance and later adapted to carry weapons.


Shorter, slower, better

The U.S. Navy has long dreamed of making carrier landings safer, more operationally efficient, and less wearing on the structure and aircraft landing gear.

The answer may lie in the X-31 thrust-vectoring technology demonstrator.

This aircraft, which recently resumed flights at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., under the second phase of the VECTOR technology demonstration program, will be able to land at 150 knots, versus the typical 165 knots, and at a 20-degree angle of attack, versus the normal 12 degrees.


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