×
Aircraft Tanks and Vehicles Small Arms Navy Ships Military Pay (U.S.) Military Ranks (Global)
HOME
AVIATION
MODERN AIR FORCES
COUNTRIES
MANUFACTURERS
COMPARE
BY CONFLICT
BY TYPE
BY DECADE
MODERN AIRCRAFT
X-PLANE
DRONE TECHNOLOGY

Boeing X-48


Experimental Blended Wing Body (BWB) Drone


Aviation / Aerospace

The Boeing X-48 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is intended as a data-collecting platform for research into blended wing body UAV design.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 5/21/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Sponsored Links

The Blended Wing Body (BWB) concept in aircraft involves just that - fixed wing elements contoured finely with the fuselage, this producing a "flying wing" of sorts as there is no defined break between the body and the wing mainplanes and the aircraft lacks a true tail unit. The concept features many of the benefits of a flying wing in that greater internal space means larger fuel stores and more surface area helps to create inherent lift. Collectively, these qualities increase operational range and fuel efficiency compared to more traditionally arranged aircraft. However, as with any other design venture, BWB aircraft hold technological challenges all their own which leads prominent defense contractors to pursue the merits of such aircraft through developmental platforms like the Boeing "X-48B".

BWB aircraft have been on the minds of aeronautical engineers since the early 1920s as the world recovered from The Great War, a war which saw the aircraft become a viable military component in monoplane, biplane, and triplane forms. From there, the concept evolved through great thinkers in the field and as technology allowed - straight wings gave way to swept wings and flush, all-metal skinning became the norm. In the new century, Boeing's "Phantom Works", its special projects division, began looking into furthering what was already known about BWBs and this begat the X-48.

Earlier work was completed by McDonnell Douglas and this was absorbed into Boeing records after the merger of the two powerhouses in 1997. Boeing then teamed up with engineers at NASA Langley Research Center to develop what would become the X-48. A prop-driven, remotely-controlled scale model of a BWB aircraft was flown in 1997 to prove the concept sound. However, the X-48A initiative, to include a wingspan of 35 feet, fell to naught - the product was cancelled before any physical work had taken place.

Next came the X-48B and this featured a more modest span of 20.4 feet. Dimensionally smaller than the intended A-model, the B-model was given large-area mainplanes with sweep along the leading edges. Its surface area was such that it negated use of a true tail unit. Vertical planes were instead seated at the mainplane wingtips. A mock cockpit was painted into the nose of the fuselage and three engine nacelles were affixed along the extreme aft of the aircraft's body, these housing JetCat P200 turbojets of 52 pounds thrust each. A full tricycle undercarriage was installed and the finalized design's gross weight reached about 500 pounds. Composites were used through where possible and Cranfield Aerospace of Britain was charged with its construction.


Sponsored Links

The X-48B began its testing phase in 2007 and recorded a first flight on July 20th. Cranfield Aerospace was commissioned for two demonstrators which were delivered ("Ship 1" and "Ship 2"). The X-48B was able to achieve a maximum speed of 136 miles per hour, an endurance window of 40 minutes and a service ceiling up to 10,000 feet. Since it became airborne, the X-48B has become a crucial component to Boeing Phantom Works regarding its research into BWBs.

The future prospects of the X-48B are interesting - it is intended as a scale-model version of a full-sized aircraft still to come. BWB designs could serve both military and civilian markets well if certain technical aspects can be solved and - perhaps more importantly - these two services are not averse to something completely different that traditionally-arranged aircraft. The inherent benefits of BWB aircraft are intriguing to say the least but it may take much convincing to pull off serial production commitments from entities such as the United States Air Force and major global passenger carriers. It is seen that such aircraft could effectively fulfill the role of heavy-lift transport in military service and long-haul airliner in civilian service.

Since the X-48B entered its test phase, yet another in the series was introduced - the X-48C. This entry became a modification of the X-48B before it but had been given a two-engine arrangement and was intended to test low-noise capability - a good quality for a civilian passenger hauler to be sure. The X-48C had its first flight in August of 2012 and wrapped up its test phase in April of the following year.

There are noted plans by Boeing for a dimensionally larger aircraft in the series still to come to continue research into their BWB design.


Specifications



Year:
2007
Status
Active, In-Service
Crew
0
[ 2 Units ] :
Boeing - USA
National flag of United States United States
- X-Plane / Developmental
- Unmanned
Length:
15.09 ft (4.6 m)
Width:
20.41 ft (6.22 m)
Height:
2.95 ft (0.9 m)
(Showcased structural dimension values pertain to the Boeing X-48B production model)
Empty Weight:
430 lb (195 kg)
MTOW:
496 lb (225 kg)
(Diff: +66lb)
(Showcased weight values pertain to the Boeing X-48B production model)
3 x JetCat P200 turbojet engines developing 52 lb of thrust each.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Boeing X-48B production model)
Max Speed:
137 mph (220 kph; 119 kts)
Service Ceiling:
10,007 feet (3,050 m; 1.9 miles)
Max Range:
90 miles (145 km; 78 nm)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Boeing X-48B production model; Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database)
None.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Boeing X-48B production model)
X-48 - Base Series Designation
X-48A - Originally planned flyable demonstrator; none built.
X-48B - Three-engined demonstrator; two completed as Ship 1 and Ship 2.
X-48C - Modified X-48B; twin-engined demonstrator; first flight in August 2012.
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.

Sponsored Links

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-