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Grumman X-29

United States (1982)
Picture of Grumman X-29 Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator
Picture of Grumman X-29 Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator Picture of Grumman X-29 Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator
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The unique Grumman X-29 design - with its forward-swept wings - was born from the existing airframe of the Northrop F-5A Freedom Fighter series.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Grumman X-29 Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator.  Entry last updated on 10/24/2017. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The Grumman X-29 aircraft was a technology demonstrator appearing in the latter years of the Cold War (1947-1991). The design was of a most unique shape - made notable by its forward-swept wings - and was the first aircraft with such an arrangement to fly supersonically (the World War 2-era Junkers Ju 287 was the first jet to utilize forward-swept wings but only ever flew subsonically). The X-29 would serve as a flying testbed for seven years with a tenure beginning in 1984, providing much research in advanced wing concepts and moving canards.

Externally, the X-29 was a modified airframe belonging to the Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter lightweight aircraft. The X-29 featured light-yet-rigid, composite-based, forward-swept monoplane wings emerging from the rear fuselage sides. The cockpit was situated well-forward in the fuselage with a largely unobstructed view out of the glass canopy for the sole pilot. The aircraft featured its canards at midships aft of the cockpit and ahead of the mainplanes. The empennage included a single vertical tailfin. No horizontal tailplanes were used as the mainplanes were seated far enough back to take their place. A single General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofan was used for propulsion and this outputting at 16,000lbs. All told, the aircraft could reach speeds of Mach 1.5+ and a ceiling of 55,000 feet. Its undercarriage supported components retained by the Northrop F-5 and also taken from a General Dynamics F-16 "Falcon".

The Grumman X-29 was an internally complex design centered around three redundant Fly-By-Wire (FBW) computers backed by three redundant analog computers. Fly-by-wire technology was necessary as the unconventional layout of the airframe proved to be highly unstable inflight without assistance. The redundancy of the systems assured that there would be no catastrophic failure of the subsystems while inflight and the analog arrangement directly backed up the digital suite to provide a further fail safe. The X-29 was a true testbed in every sense of the word, its fly-by-wire technology now commonplace to both military- and civilian-minded aircraft alike.


Picture of the Grumman X-29 Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator
Picture of the Grumman X-29 Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator


The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) was the primary operator of the two X-29A demonstrators completed. These carried serial numbers 82-0003 and 82-0049. Their test regime spanned from 1984 through to 1991 before the project was officially ended. The aircraft pairing then went on to prove many aeronautic concepts viable and served to forward American military aviation into the following decade.

The two working examples themselves manage to survive their years of testing with one of the demonstrators ending its career as a showpiece at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The other resided at Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB.

The National Air and Space Museum of Washington, D.C. displays a fiberglass scale model of the X-29 in its facility rafters.




Cockpit picture from the Grumman X-29 Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator
Grumman X-29 Cockpit Picture


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.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 1200mph
Lo: 600mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (1,131mph).

    Graph average of 900 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Grumman X-29A's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
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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Origin: United States
Year: 1982
Type: Forward-Swept Wing Technology Demonstrator
Manufacturer(s): Grumman - USA
Production: 2
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

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 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 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
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Grumman X-29A model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
1


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
48.23 ft


Meters
14.7 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
28.87 ft


Meters
8.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
14.11 ft


Meters
4.3 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
13,801 lb


Kilograms
6,260 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
17,791 lb


Kilograms
8,070 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x General Electric F404-GE-400 turbofan engine developing 16,000 lb of thrust.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
1,131 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
1,820 kph


Knots
983 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
1,553 mi


Kilometers
2,500 km


Nautical Miles
1,350 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
55,118 ft


Meters
16,800 m


Miles
10.44 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• Grumman Model 712 / G-712 - Internal Grumman Company Designation.
• X-29A - Base Developmentl Model of which 2 examples were produced and operated.