×
Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Scale Global Military Ranks
HOME
AVIATION / AEROSPACE
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
MODERN AIRCRAFT
X-PLANE
DRONE TECHNOLOGY

Boeing X-45


Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) Prototype


Aviation / Aerospace

1 / 4
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
2 / 4
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.
3 / 4
Image courtesy of Dreyden Research Facility, USA.
4 / 4
Image courtesy of Dreyden Research Facility, USA.

The Boeing X-45A made its maiden flight on May 22nd, 2002 though the program ultimately netted just two examples in all.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 9/24/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Boeing X-45 served as a proof-of-concept technology demonstrator - developed in conjunction with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) - for the storied aviation concern in trying to develop a fully-autonomous Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) solution for possible adoption by the United States Air Force (USAF). The advanced aircraft first took to the air on May 22nd, 2002 and this led to a pair of vehicles being completed and used in active testing. With their test phase completed, the design did not materialized into a formal UCAV contract order by the USAF which then saw Boeing attempting to sell its X-45 to the United States Navy (USN). The USN favored a competing design from Northrop Grumman (to become the "X-47"). As such, the X-45 program was ended and both of the original X-45A aircraft were handed to American museums - the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum of Washington, D.C and the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

The Boeing "Phantom Ray" became an offshoot of the X-45 work, its first flight being in 2011 with only one having been completed to date (2014).

The X-45A took on a most unique design form with its hard, clean lines, well-blended dorsal section, and swept mainplanes. The vehicle lacked any conventional tail unit (including vertical tail fins) and its turbofan engine was buried deep within the upper section of the fuselage - allowing the ventral side to remain flat. The single engine was aspirated at the front of the design by way of an intake and exhausted through a shallow port at the rear - the installation running nearly the full length of the aircraft. The undercarriage was wholly retractable and of a tricycle arrangement. Flight control was autonomous though pilots on the ground could input control if required.

Boeing engineers, at its famous "Phantom Works" location, completed two flyable X-45As and these were to represent a future, full-sized version still-to-come. General ground running and flight testing then led to ordnance drops which proved the machine sound on the whole. The pair of X-45s were sometimes flown together and showed their prowess in operating - autonomously and in conjunction with one another - when engaging simulated threats. They utilized their software for optimal approaches, interpreting the level of the threats, and resource management successfully. With their flying days over, the pair were then retired having flown dozens of flights.

The X-45 program begat a few notable variants leading with the X-45A which remained proof-of-concept demonstrators. The X-45B was the full-sized version which allowed for improved performance figures and this then led to the finalized form as the X-45C to be powered by an F404 series turbofan. A navalized version of this mark was the offered to the USN as the X-45N though the Northrop Grumman X-47 took its place and has gone on to make tremendous strides for the service in active carrier trials.

Dimensionally, the X-45A held a running length of 26.5 feet, a wingspan of 33.9 feet, and a height of 6.7 feet. Its empty listed weight was 8,000lb. A pair of long internal weapons bays were seated in the belly allowing for the carrying of JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munition) or similar guided drop bombs. The X-45A was outfitted with a Honeywell F124-GA-100 turbofan engine, giving it a maximum speed of 570 miles per hour (up to Mach 0.75) and a range of 1,500 miles. Its operational service ceiling was 40,000 feet.


Specifications



Year:
2002
Status
Retired, Out-of-Service
Crew
0
[ 2 Units ] :
Boeing Company / DARPA - USA
National flag of United States United States
- Ground Attack
- X-Plane / Developmental
- Unmanned
Length:
26.57 ft (8.1 m)
Width:
33.79 ft (10.3 m)
Height:
7.02 ft (2.14 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Boeing X-45A production model)
Empty Weight:
8,003 lb (3,630 kg)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Boeing X-45A production model)
1 x Honeywell F124-GA-100 turbofan engine of unknown thrust output.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Boeing X-45A production model)
Max Speed:
572 mph (920 kph; 497 kts)
Service Ceiling:
43,307 feet (13,200 m; 8.2 miles)
Max Range:
1,491 miles (2,400 km; 1,296 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Boeing X-45A production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
Precision-guided bombs across two internal weapons bays.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Boeing X-45A production model)
X-45 - Base Series Designation
X-45A - Original test models; two completed.
X-45B - Full-sized form of the X-45A
X-45C - To be fitted with F404 series turbofan engine.
X-45N - Proposed navalized variant for the USN
"Phantom Ray" - Private venture based on X-45 data
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies


The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world and WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft.


Facebook Logo YouTube Logo

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-