Second UCAV joints flight test
Six months after the first X-45A technology demonstrator flew for the first time (on May 22), the second one successfully completed its first flight Nov. 22 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Vehicle No. 2 flew for approximately 30 minutes and reached an air speed of 195 knots and an altitude of 7,500 feet.
''We're very excited about the second X-45A demonstration vehicle joining the flight test program,'' said Darryl Davis, Boeing UCAV program manager. ''Operating two aircraft in flight test will validate the test points more rapidly.''
After initial X-45A flight worthiness tests are completed, the two UCAV demonstrators will go on to fly in formation, operate with manned aircraft, drop ordnance, and perform autonomous missions in simulated threat scenarios.
The UCAV represents a revolutionary new weapon system that can significantly increase the effectiveness and survivability of manned fighter aircraft while lowering the overall cost of combat operations. It is being developed by Boeing Phantom Works and the Boeing Integrated Defense Systems business unit in partnership with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force.
''The joint team deserves a tremendous amount of the credit for the success we've demonstrated to date,'' said Col. Earl Wyatt, UCAV program manager for DARPA.
In addition to the two X-45A UCAV demonstration vehicles, the UCAV program is also designing and building two more operationally representative prototypes that will demonstrate the military utility and operational value of the UCAV system.
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