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Boeing X-45A J-UCAS

DAYTON, Ohio -- Boeing X-45A J-UCAS on display in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Boeing X-45A J-UCAS on display in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Boeing X-45A J-UCAS on display in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- Boeing X-45A J-UCAS on display in the Research and Development Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The first prototype X-45A with one of its two weapons bay doors open. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The first prototype X-45A with one of its two weapons bay doors open. (U.S. Air Force photo)


The pioneering X-45A demonstrated that highly autonomous uninhabited aircraft could be used to attack opposing surface-to-air defenses (called Suppression of Enemy Air Defense or SEAD).  Begun by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the program was later managed by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. During the test program, the stealthy X-45A accomplished many significant achievements in aviation history.

In September 2000, Boeing's "Phantom Works" completed the first of two X-45As, using research from its manned Bird of Prey aircraft. The first X-45A made its first flight in May 2002 and the second vehicle followed in November. In April 2004 an X-45A hit a ground target with an inert, precision-guided weapon. In August 2004 for the first time, one pilot-operator successfully controlled two X-45As in flight.

In 2005 the X-45As autonomously flew a pre-planned SEAD mission against simulated Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) systems. The X-45As then used their on-board, decision-making software to avoid a new, unplanned SAM threat. They independently determined which aircraft would attack the new target based upon their position, weapons and fuel. After the pilot-operator at Edwards AFB, Calif., checked the plan created by the UCAS’s software, the X-45As successfully attacked and returned to base.

TECHNICAL NOTES:
Armament: Eight Small Diameter Bombs (carried in two weapons bays)
Engine: Honeywell F124-GA-100 turbofan of 6,500 lbs. thrust
Cruising speed: About 610 mph
Maximum Payload: 4,500 lbs.
Ceiling: 40,000 feet
Weight: 12,190 lbs.

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