Boeing X-32A Joint Strike Fighter arrives at National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
By Rob Bardua, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
/ Published September 20, 2006
DAYTON, Ohio -- The X-32A, Boeing's Conventional Take-off and Landing entry for the Joint Strike Fighter program's concept demonstration phase, recently arrived at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
The aircraft, which is currently being restored in the museum's restoration hangar, will go on display in the museum later this year.
According to Museum Director, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Charles D. Metcalf, the X-32A is a great addition for the museum, and will allow visitors to see the creative vision of those who design the aircraft counted on to protect our nation.
"The X-32A is a wonderful addition to the museum's collection," said General Metcalf. "This aircraft allows the museum to show the public one of the Air Force's latest technological efforts to develop a low-cost, multi-role joint combat aircraft, which was designed for the purpose of extending U.S. and allied air superiority well into the future."
During its first flight on Sept. 18, 2000, the X-32A flew to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where it was tested for its ability to perform simulated carrier landings on a specifically marked runway, aerial refueling, flight with a fully loaded weapons bay, and supersonic flight.
Trials of the X-32A ended on Feb. 3, 2001, after more than 60 sorties and 50 hours in flight.
In the end, the aircraft was passed over in favor of the X-35 in the JSF competition; however, former Boeing JSF General Manager and current Vice President of Program Technology and Advanced Tooling on the Boeing 787 Program, Mr. Frank Statkus, said the design of the aircraft was still a winner in many areas.
"The JSF competition was a tough fly-off, but in developing the X-32's, we leveraged the best of military and commercial practices, while inventing many others," said Mr. Statkus. "More importantly, we believed that once the aircraft was procured, we could produce them at an affordable cost for the customer."
Following the competition, the X-32A was taken to Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., where it remained until its recent transport to the museum.
In order to protect the aircraft and to save it from being cut, the single piece wing was removed from the fuselage and rotated sideways onto a uniquely designed carriage, and then rolled onto a C-5A for airlift provided by Travis Air Force Base.
After arriving at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on April 9, a Boeing team led by Mr. Alan Baldwin, joined two of the museum's restoration technicians, and worked nearly 10 days to re-assemble the aircraft before turning it over to the museum for the final phases of the restoration process.
According to Boeing Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Air Force Systems, George Muellner, Boeing gained valuable knowledge from the X-32A and is extremely proud to have the aircraft on permanent display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
"Even though the X-32 was not selected in the JSF competition, its technology was applied to other Boeing programs and advanced the state of the art," said Mr. Muellner. "Once the X-32A is readied for permanent display, it will become part of aviation history for future generations to study and admire."
For more information on the X-32A and other aircraft at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, please visit http://www.wpafb.af.mil/museum or call (937) 255-3286, ext. 302.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Pike, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.
NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, contact the National Museum of the United States Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-4704, ext. 330.