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Aviation / Aerospace


Rockwell-MBB X-31 (EFM)


Thrust-Vectoring Experimental Aircraft [ 1990 ]



Two Rockwell-MBB X-31 aircraft were completed to test the nuances of vectored thrust - the series flew into 2003.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/20/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

GO TO SPECIFICATIONS [+]
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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.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.
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Specifications



Service Year
1990

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Crew
1

Production
2
UNITS


Rockwell - USA / Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) - Germany
(View other Aviaton-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of modern Germany National flag of the United States Germany; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.


Length
43.3 ft
(13.21 m)
Width/Span
23.8 ft
(7.25 m)
Height
14.6 ft
(4.45 m)
Empty Wgt
11,409 lb
(5,175 kg)
MTOW
15,939 lb
(7,230 kg)
Wgt Diff
+4,530 lb
(+2,055 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Rockwell-MBB X-31 production variant)
Installed: 1 x General Electric F404-GE-400 afterburning turbofan engine developing 16,000lb of thrust.
Max Speed
901 mph
(1,450 kph | 783 kts)
Ceiling
40,026 ft
(12,200 m | 8 mi)
Rate-of-Climb
43,000 ft/min
(13,106 m/min)


♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030


(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Rockwell-MBB X-31 production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)
None.


Supported Types




(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
X-31 - Base Series Designation; two flyable aircraft completed.


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