X-45C and X-47B full-scale Mock-Ups Unveiled at Farnborough

Released on Monday, July 19, 2004
United Kingdom
United States of America
F-15E Strike Eagle
DARPA - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
J-UCAS - Joint Unmanned Combat Air System
JDAM - Joint Direct Attack Munition
SDB - Small Diameter Bomb
SEAD - Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses
SEC - Software Enabled Control
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
The Boeing and Northrop-Grumman have unveiled their X-45C and X-47B full-scale models respectively at Farnborough international air show, United Kingdom. The X-45 and the X-47 are competing for the J-UCAS program, the promising US joint services unmanned combat system.

The J-UCAS is a joint program between the DARPA, the US Air Force and the US Navy aimed at providing an unmanned combat airborne system suitable for land- and sea-based operations. Boeing and Northrop-Grumman are competing for the J-UCAS program. The J-UCAS performing suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), precision strike, electronic attack and durable ISR should enter service in 2010 or beyond.

Boeing's X-45C unmanned combat system is scheduled for assembly completion at Saint Louis manufacturing facilities in 2006. The assembly process started in June this year with the X-45C first flight planned for 2007. The Northrop-Grumman's X-47B first flight according to current estimates will occur in 2006.

The X-45C is 39-ft (11.89 meters) long, 49-ft (14.9 meters) wingspan and cruises at 0.8 Mach. Its military payload will consists of up to eight Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) or the full range of GPS-guided JDAM bombs. Both weapons are being developed and produced by Boeing.

Recently, Boeing along with the partners demonstrated that combat aircraft such as the F-15E Strike Eagle can effectively utilize UAVs in coordinated combat operations. The software controlled UAV can perform a full range of tasks while operating alongside other platforms. The Software Enabled Control (SEC) technologies are being transitioned to J-UCAS program for future assessment.


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