Boeing X-45 Drops First Bomb


Released on Wednesday, March 24, 2004
United States of America
X-45C
DoD - Department of Defense
km - kilometre
NASA - National Aeronautics & Space Administration
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UCAV - Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle
The X-45A unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being developed by Boeing under DoD's J-UCAS program dropped its first bomb on 20 March 2004 at NASA's Dryden Test Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California.

The X-45A aircraft dropped a 250-pound class inert smart bomb carried internally inside the weapons bay while flying at 35,000 ft (10,500 meters) and 0.67 Mach (+600 km/h) over the Precision Impact Range Area in the Southern California Desert.

This test represents the first time that a weapon has been released from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle internal bay, and the first time that a weapon has been released from a high-speed, high-performance, UAV with a stealthy shape.

This test helps to demonstrate the UCAV concept feasibility releasing smart munitions on target during day/night and adverse weather conditions in most dangerous missions without risking a pilot. The development team will now perform guided weapons delivery tests paving the way for the multiple-vehicle coordinated flight test which represents a key milestone for the J-UCAS program.

Recently, the Boeing X-45A aircraft reached an important milestone deploying the Block 2 software and demonstrating the maximum envelope of 0.75 Mach and 35,000 ft speed and altitude conditions.

J-UCAS program is intended to provide Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs) for both the US Air Force and the US Navy. The US Navy UCAVs will operate from current and planned aircraft carriers. Currently, Northrop-Grumman (X-47B) and Boeing (X-45C) are bidding for the J-UCAS program.

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