Boeing X-45As to be Inducted into Smithsonian and National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 02, 2006 -- After 64 unprecedented flights and numerous firsts in autonomous combat aviation, the two X-45A unmanned combat air vehicles designed and built by Boeing [NYSE: BA] in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force are heading to two prominent aviation museums to be permanently displayed.
One aircraft is going to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, and the other to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
“This is a fantastic honor,” said Dave Koopersmith, X-45 vice president and program manager for Boeing Advanced Systems. “The X-45A made history and laid the groundwork for future unmanned combat aircraft with its 64 mishap-free flights. We take great pride that they will be displayed for the world to see at these museums.”
The X-45A completed demonstration flights in August 2005, establishing multiple aviation milestones for unmanned combat aircraft, including the:
* First autonomous flight of a high-performance, combat-capable UAV
* First weapons release from an autonomous UAV
* First operation of multiple UAVs by a single operator
* First autonomous multi-vehicle coordinated flight
“The X-45 currently represents the leading edge of unmanned aerial vehicle technology. The aircraft’s stealthy design and autonomous capability mark a turning point for the future of UAVs,” said Dik Daso, curator of aeronautics, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Engineering work is scheduled to begin soon at the Smithsonian to prepare the X-45A display, which is planned to be suspended in mid-air.
The X-45A going to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will be displayed in the museum’s Cold War Gallery near the revolutionary B-2 Stealth Bomber.
“The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has a comprehensive unmanned combat aerial vehicle collection dating back to World War I and the Kettering ’Bug,’” said Terry Aitken, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force senior curator. “We are very proud to add this latest technology leader to our ever growing collection. The X-45A has innovations that I’m sure we will see again in future designs.”
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