Northrop Grumman Corporation has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense
to design the first-ever supersonic flying wing aircraft that can vary the sweep
of its wing for the most efficient flight performance.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to
Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector for the first phase of its Oblique
Flying Wing (OFW) program, which aims to design and conduct flight tests of an
experimental tailless, supersonic, variable-sweep flying wing. DARPA's goal is
to demonstrate that such aircraft are feasible so that similar designs can be
considered for future military missions.
The oblique flying wing would vary its wing sweep (the angle of the wing's
leading edge relative to the direction of flight) depending on its speed. At low
speeds the wing sweep is relatively low, providing an efficient aerodynamic
design. At high speeds the wing is highly swept, reducing supersonic wave drag.
The supersonic design envisioned by the OFW program offers potential benefits
for missions requiring rapid deployment, long range and long endurance. In
theory, an oblique flying wing could maximize its performance in every flight
regime: takeoff or landing, high or low altitude, supersonic or subsonic speed.
During the program's first phase, which will conclude in November 2007, Northrop
Grumman will conduct technology maturation to reduce the risk of the critical
technologies associated with its OFW concepts and develop a preliminary design
for the experimental aircraft. DARPA is providing funding of $10.3 million for
The preliminary design effort could be followed by a second phase to finalize
the design, then build an experimental aircraft and flight test it. First flight
of this "X-plane" is envisioned in 2010 or 2011.
Copyright © 2003-2017 deagel.com website. All rights reserved.