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List of X-planes

 

List of X-planes

Bell X-1-2

The X-planes are a series of experimental United States airplanes and helicopters (and some rockets) used to test and evaluate new technologies and aerodynamic concepts. Most of the X-planes have been operated by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) or, later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), often in conjunction with the United States Air Force. The majority of X-plane testing has occurred at Edwards Air Force Base.[1]

Some of the X-planes have been well publicized, while others, such as the X-16, have been developed in secrecy.[2] The first, the Bell X-1, became well known after it became, in 1947, the first aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight.[3] Later X-planes supported important research in a multitude of aerodynamic and technical fields, but only the North American X-15 rocket plane of the early 1960s achieved comparable fame to that of the X-1. X-planes 7 through 12 were actually missiles[4] used to test new types of engines, and some other vehicles were un-manned (some were remotely flown, some were partially or fully autonomous).

Most X-planes are not expected to go into full-scale production; one exception was the Lockheed Martin X-35, which competed against the Boeing X-32 during the Joint Strike Fighter Program, and has entered production as the F-35.[5]

Not all US experimental aircraft have been designated as X-planes; some received US Navy designations before 1962,[6] while others have been known only by manufacturers' designations,[N 1] non-'X'-series designations,[N 2] or classified codenames.[N 3]

Contents

  • List 1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6

List

Name Manufacturer
Agency
Image Maiden flight Purpose and Notes
X-1 Bell Aircraft
USAF, NACA
January 19, 1946 High-speed and high-altitude testing.
First aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight.
Proved aerodynamic viability of thin wing sections.[7]
X-2
"Starbuster"
Bell Aircraft
USAF
June 27, 1952 High-speed and high-altitude testing.
First aircraft to exceed Mach 3.[8]
X-3
Stiletto
Douglas Aircraft
USAF, NACA
October 27, 1952 Titanium alloy construction; low aspect ratio wings.
Planned to test long-duration high-speed flight.
Incapable of reaching design speed, but provided insights into inertia coupling.[9]
X-4
Bantam
Northrop
USAF, NACA
December 15, 1948 Evaluated handling characteristics of tailless aircraft in the transonic speed region.[10]
X-5 Bell Aircraft
USAF, NACA
June 20, 1951 First aircraft to fly with variable geometry wings.[11]
X-6 Convair
USAF, AEC
Cancelled 1957. Not built. Planned to investigate Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion. The Convair NB-36H was a B-36 modified to carry a nuclear reactor and flew from 1955 to 1957.[12][13]
X-7
"Flying Stove Pipe"
Lockheed
Tri-service
April 26, 1951 High-speed testbed for ramjet engines.[14]
X-8
Aerobee
Aerojet
NACA, USAF, USN
Upper air research vehicle and sounding rocket.[15]
X-9
Shrike
Bell Aircraft
USAF
April 1949 Guidance and propulsion technology testbed.
Assisted development of GAM-63 Rascal missile.[16]
X-10 North American Aviation
USAF
October 13, 1953 Testbed for SM-64 Navajo missile.[17]
X-11 Convair
USAF
June 11, 1957 Testbed for SM-65 Atlas missile.[18]
X-12 Convair
USAF
July, 1958 Advanced testbed for SM-65 Atlas missile.[19]
X-13
Vertijet
Ryan Aeronautical
USAF, USN
December 10, 1955 Vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) testbed.
Evaluated tailsitting configuration for VTOL flight.[20]
X-14 Bell Aircraft
USAF, NASA
February 19, 1957 VTOL testbed.
Examined the vectored thrust configuration for VTOL flight.[21]
X-15 North American Aviation
USAF, NASA
June 8, 1959 Hypersonic (Mach 6.7), high-altitude (350,000 feet (110,000 m)) testing.
First manned hypersonic aircraft; capable of suborbital spaceflight.[22]
X-16 Bell Aircraft
USAF
Cancelled 1954. Never flew. High-altitude reconnaissance aircraft project.[23]
"X-16" designation used as cover story.[24]
X-17 Lockheed
USAF, USN
April 1956 Tested the effects of high Mach number reentry.[25]
X-18 Hiller Aircraft
USAF, USN
November 24, 1959 VTOL/Short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) testbed.
Evaluated the tiltwing concept for VTOL flight.[26]
X-19 Curtiss-Wright
Tri-service
November 1963 Tandem tiltrotor VTOL transport testbed.[27]
XC-143 designation proposed.[28]
X-20
Dyna-Soar
Boeing
USAF
Cancelled 1963. Never built. Reusable spaceplane for military missions.[29]
X-21 Northrop
USAF
April 18, 1963 Boundary layer control testbed.[30]
X-22 Bell Aircraft
Tri-service
March 17, 1966 Quad ducted fan tiltrotor STOVL testbed.[31]
X-23
PRIME
Martin Marietta
USAF
December 21, 1966 Maneuvering atmospheric reentry effects testbed.[32]
Designation never officially assigned.[33]
X-24 Martin Marietta
USAF, NASA

August 1, 1973 Low-speed lifting body handling testbed.
Lifting body aerodynamic shape trials.[34]
X-25 Benson
USAF
December 6, 1955 Light autogyro for emergency use by downed pilots.[35]
X-26
Frigate
Schweizer
DARPA, US Army, USN

1967
Training glider for yaw-roll coupling
Quiet observation aircraft testbed.[36]
X-27 Lockheed Cancelled 1971. Never flew. High performance fighter prototype.[37]
X-28
Sea Skimmer
Osprey Aircraft
USN
August 12, 1970 Inexpensive aerial policing seaplane testbed.[38]
X-29 Grumman
DARPA, USAF, NASA
1984 Forward-swept wing testbed.[39]
X-30
NASP
Rockwell
NASA, DARPA, USAF
Never built Single stage to orbit spaceplane prototype.[40]
X-31 Rockwell
DARPA, USAF, BdV
1990 Thrust vectoring supermaneuverability testbed.
ESTOL testbed.[41]
X-32 Boeing
USAF, USN, RAF
September 2000 Joint Strike Fighter prototype.[42]
X-33
Venture Star
Lockheed Martin
NASA
Prototype never completed Half-scale reusable launch vehicle prototype.[43]
X-34 Orbital Sciences
NASA
Never flew Reusable unmanned spaceplane testbed.[44]
X-35 Lockheed Martin
USAF, USN, RAF
2000 Joint Strike Fighter prototype.[45]
X-36 McDonnell Douglas/Boeing
NASA
May 17, 1997 28% scale tailless fighter testbed.[46]
X-37 Boeing
USAF, NASA
April 7, 2006 (drop test)
April 22, 2010 (orbital flight)
Reusable orbital spaceplane.[47]
X-38 Scaled Composites
NASA
1999 Lifting body Crew Return Vehicle demonstrator.[48]
X-39 Unknown
USAF
Classified Unknown Future Aircraft Technology Enhancements (FATE) program.[49]
Designation never officially assigned.[33]
X-40 Boeing
USAF, NASA
August 11, 1998 80% scale Space Maneuver Vehicle testbed.
X-37 prototype.[50]
X-41 Unknown
USAF
Classified Unknown Maneuvering re-entry vehicle.[51]
X-42 Unknown
USAF
Classified Unknown Expendable liquid propellant upper-stage rocket.[52]
X-43
Hyper-X
Micro Craft
NASA
June 2, 2001 Scramjet hypersonic testbed (Mach 9.68) (110,000 ft).[53]
X-44
MANTA
Lockheed Martin
USAF, NASA
Cancelled F-22-based Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft thrust vectoring testbed.[54]
X-45 Boeing
DARPA, USAF

May 22, 2002 Unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator.[55]
X-46 Boeing
DARPA, USN
Cancelled Naval UCAV demonstrator.[56]
X-47A Pegasus
X-47B
Northrop Grumman
DARPA, USN
February 23, 2003 Naval UCAV demonstrator.[57]
X-48 Boeing
NASA
July 20, 2007 Blended Wing Body (BWB) testbed.[58]
X-49
Speedhawk
Piasecki Aircraft
US Army
July 29, 2007 Compound helicopter
Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) testbed.[59]
X-50
Dragonfly
Boeing
DARPA
24 November 2003 Canard Rotor/Wing testbed.[60]
X-51
Waverider
Boeing
USAF
26 May 2010[61] Hypersonic scramjet demonstrator.[62]
X-52 Number skipped to avoid confusion with B-52.[33]
X-53 Boeing Phantom Works
NASA, USAF
November 2002 Active Aeroelastic Wing testbed.[63]
X-54 Gulfstream Aerospace
NASA
Future Supersonic transport testbed.[59]
X-55 Lockheed Martin Skunk Works
USAF
June 2, 2009 Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft (ACCA).
Molded composite fuselage and empennage testbed.[64]
X-56 Lockheed Martin Skunk Works
USAF/NASA
2012 Active flutter suppression and gust load alleviation technology for potential use in future high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) reconnaissance aircraft.[65]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ For example, the Piasecki PA-97
  2. ^ For example, the NASA AD-1 and Bell XV-15
  3. ^ For example, the Northrop Tacit Blue

References

  1. ^ "X-Planes Experimental Aircraft".  
  2. ^ Miller 2001, p. 209
  3. ^ First Generation X-1 (fact sheet), Dryden:  .
  4. ^ Miller 2001
  5. ^ A history of the Joint Strike Fighter Program,  .
  6. ^ "D-558-I" NASA Dryden Fact Sheets. NASA. Accessed May 8, 2010.
  7. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 5–7.
  8. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 8.
  9. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 9.
  10. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 10.
  11. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 11.
  12. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 12.
  13. ^ Miller, J. The X-Planes, Speciality Press, 1983.
  14. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 13.
  15. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 14.
  16. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 15.
  17. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 16.
  18. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 17.
  19. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 18.
  20. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 19.
  21. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 20.
  22. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 21–22.
  23. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 23.
  24. ^ "X-16". Global security, accessed 11 May 2010.
  25. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 24.
  26. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 25.
  27. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 26.
  28. ^ Baugher 2007
  29. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 27.
  30. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 28.
  31. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 29.
  32. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 30.
  33. ^ a b c Parsch 2009, "Missing Designations"
  34. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 31–32.
  35. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 33.
  36. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 34.
  37. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 35.
  38. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 36.
  39. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 37.
  40. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 38.
  41. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 39.
  42. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 40–41.
  43. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 42.
  44. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 43.
  45. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, pp. 44–45.
  46. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 46.
  47. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 47.
  48. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 48.
  49. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 49.
  50. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 50.
  51. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 51.
  52. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 52.
  53. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 53.
  54. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 54.
  55. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 55.
  56. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 56.
  57. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 57.
  58. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 58.
  59. ^ a b Parsch 2009, "DOD 4120.15-L"
  60. ^ Jenkins, Landis and Miller 2003, p. 60.
  61. ^ "X-51 Waverider makes historic hypersonic flight". US AIr Force Public Affairs. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  62. ^ "X-51 Scramjet Engine Demonstrator - WaveRider" globalsecurity.org. Accessed 2010-05-11.
  63. ^ Jordan 2006
  64. ^ Kaufman 2009
  65. ^ Norris 2012

Bibliography

  •  
  • Jenkins, Dennis R.; Tony Landis; Jay Miller (June 2003). American X-Vehicles: An Inventory—X-1 to X-50 (NASA Special Publication). Monographs in Aerospace History. No. 31 (Centennial of Flight ed.). Washington, DC: NASA History Office. SP-2003-4531. Retrieved 5 April 2010. 
  • Jordan, Holly (2006). "Active Aeroelastic Wing flight research vehicle receives X-53 designation". Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  • Kaufman, Derek (2009). "Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft gets X-plane designation". United States Air Force. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  • Miller, Jay (2001). The X-Planes: X-1 to X-45 (third ed.). Motorbooks International.  
  • Parsch, Andreas (November 2009). Missing" USAF/DOD Aircraft Designations""". designation-systems.net. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  • Parsch, Andreas (November 2009). "DOD 4120.15-L - Addendum, MDS Designators allocated after 19 August 1998 (until September 2009)". designation-Systems.Net. Retrieved 2010-05-11. 
  • Norris, Guy (February 2012). "USAF Reveals Latest X-Plane: X-56A". Aviation Week and Space Technology. Retrieved 2012-02-11. 

External links

  • Early X-planes
  • X-15 Videos by NASA
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