National Museum of the USAF   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

Home > Fact Sheets > Boeing Bird of Prey


Posted 3/4/2015 Printable Fact Sheet
Previous ImageNext Image
F-22A & Bird of Prey
DAYTON, Ohio -- Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor (bottom) and Boeing Bird of Prey at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Download HiRes

The Bird of Prey is a single-seat stealth technology demonstrator used to test "low-observable" stealth techniques and new methods of aircraft design and construction. The secret Bird of Prey project ran from 1992 to 1999, and the aircraft first flew in the fall of 1996. The Bird of Prey was named for its resemblance to the Klingon spacecraft from the science fiction series Star Trek.

In its 38 flights, the Bird of Prey tested ways to make aircraft less observable to the eye and to radar. It also validated new ways to design and build aircraft using large single-piece composite structures, "virtual reality" computerized design and assembly, and disposable tooling. The Bird of Prey was revealed in 2002 because its design techniques had become standard practice -- Boeing used them in its X-32 Joint Strike Fighter demonstrators and later in its X-45A Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle prototype.

The aircraft demonstrates advanced stealth concepts, notably its "gapless" control surfaces that blend smoothly into the wings to reduce radar visibility, and an engine intake completely shielded from the front. The Bird of Prey, however, used some "off the shelf" technology to reduce costs and speed production. Its control system is all-manual with no computer assists, and the landing gear is adapted from Beech King Air and Queen Air aircraft.

Boeing donated the Bird of Prey to the museum in 2002.

One Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5C turbofan of 3,190 lbs. thrust
Maximum speed: 300 mph
Ceiling: 20,000 ft.

Click here to return to the Southeast Asia War Gallery.

Find Out More
Blue line
Related Fact Sheets
Boeing X-45A J-UCAS
Blue line
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.

 Inside the Museum

ima cornerSearch

ima cornerAircraft


tabRelated Links

Museum Virtual TourMuseum Facebook PageMuseum Twitter PageMuseum Instagram
Museum Google Plus PageMuseum Pinterest PageMuseum YouTube ChannelMuseum Flickr Page
Museum PodcastsMuseum E-newsletter Sign-upMuseum RSS Feeds

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act