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Rockwell-MBB X-31 (EFM)

Thrust-Vectoring Experimental Aircraft

Rockwell-MBB X-31 (EFM)

Thrust-Vectoring Experimental Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



Two Rockwell-MBB X-31 aircraft were completed to test the nuances of vectored thrust - the series flew into 2003.
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ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1990
MANUFACTURER(S): Rockwell - USA / Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) - Germany
PRODUCTION: 2
OPERATORS: Germany; United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Rockwell-MBB X-31 (EFM) model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 1
LENGTH: 43.34 feet (13.21 meters)
WIDTH: 23.79 feet (7.25 meters)
HEIGHT: 14.60 feet (4.45 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 11,409 pounds (5,175 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 15,939 pounds (7,230 kilograms)
ENGINE: 1 x General Electric F404-GE-400 afterburning turbofan engine developing 16,000lb of thrust.
SPEED (MAX): 901 miles-per-hour (1450 kilometers-per-hour; 783 knots)
CEILING: 40,026 feet (12,200 meters; 7.58 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 43,000 feet-per-minute (13,106 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



None.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• X-31 - Base Series Designation; two flyable aircraft completed.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Rockwell-MBB X-31 (EFM) Thrust-Vectoring Experimental Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 1/20/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The X-31 experimental aircraft was a joint development venture between Rockwell and Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) of Germany to test the viability of thrust-vectoring hardware and software. Two prototypes were used throughout the program's run with a first-flight recorded on October 11th, 1990. Of the pair, one crashed during a test flight (the pilot ejecting safely) while the surviving member ended its days as a showpiece at the Deutsches Museum Flugwerft Schleissheim in Germany.

Many off-the-shelf components, borrowed from designs like the F-16, F-16XL, F/A-18 Hornet and B-1 bomber, made up the actual aircraft to keep development costs down and construction times short. The result was a sleek, though largely conventional, fighter design sporting well-swept, low-mounted monoplane wings (in a canard delta configuration), a single rudder and no horizontal planes at the tail (instead nose-mounted canards took over their role). A retractable undercarriage assisted ground running. The pilot was given a commanding view over the nose thanks to an elevated seating position and tear-drop-style canopy. The fuselage appeared with rounded slab sides and a deep profile.

Power was derived from a single General Electric F404-GE-400 series turbofan engine of 16,000lb thrust output, giving the airframe a maximum speed of 900 miles per hour, a service ceiling up to 40,000 feet and a rate-of-climb nearing 43,000 feet per minute. The engine was aspirated through a rectangular intake identified under the cockpit floor aft of the nose cone. The key design element of the X-31 was its jet pipe exhaust structure which incorporated three moveable panels to direct the flow of outgoing thrust. The idea was to test high Angle-of-Attack (AoA) performance during maneuvers - in this respect, the program succeeded.

Between the two prototypes, 580 flights were completed. Prototype 1 was lost on January 19th, 1995 due to ice build-up at the pitot tube resulting in incorrect data being fed to the onboard computers. Prototype 2 flew on into 2003 before being put out to pasture.




MEDIA









Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1000mph
Lo: 500mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (901mph).

    Graph average of 750 miles-per-hour.
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Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
2
2

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue