this is the real X-45
The Boeing Joint Unmanned Combat Air System X-45 is an unmanned combat air vehicle being developed for strike missions such as Suppression of Enemy
Air Defence (SEAD), electronic warfare and associated operations.
The Joint Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) is being managed by DARPA, the US Navy and the US Air Force. The two principle systems being developed
under the first phase of the program, the Spiral 0 phase, are the Boeing X-45 and the Northrop Grumman X-47. The J-UCAS program combines the programs
previously conducted under the DARPA, USAF and Boeing X-45 UCAV program and the DARPA, USN and Northrop Grumman X-47 UCAV-N program.
In March 2004, the X-45A completed a ten-day schedule of test flights including dropping a 250lb inert Small Smart Bomb (SSB) at NASA's Dryden Flight
Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. The X-45A air vehicle released the unguided weapon from its internal weapon bay at an altitude of
35,000ft and speed Mach 0.67 (about 442mph). In August 2004, the first test of multi-vehicle operations took place. Two X-45A demonstrators were
controlled by a single operator / pilot. The next scheduled set of test flights includes the release of a precision-guided weapon that will attack a
target. The first flight of the larger X-45C will be in early 2007.
In 1999 Boeing was awarded a demonstration phase contract by DARPA and the USAF. Under the contract, Boeing Phantom Works completed two X-45A
demonstrator air vehicles. The roll out ceremony of the first vehicle was in September 2001. The first flight was completed in May 2002.
Boeing Company in Seattle is the principle contractor responsible for the X-45 program and is also responsible for the provision and implementation of
the mission control aspects of the program. Boeing in St Louis is responsible for the development of the air vehicle
A series of Block 1 tests on both X-45A vehicles, including timing and positional navigation trials, autonomous taxiing and the integration of ground
mission control elements, was completed in February 2003.
Block 2 testing, which began in March 2003, included integration of the unmanned vehicles with manned aircraft. By March 2004 the Block 2 software
build was completed and the first flight tests of the Block 2 software were successfully completed. Block 3 testing, scheduled to start after Block 2,
includes mission replanning during flight, station keeping manoeuvres and the simulated deployment and dropping of inert weapons. Block 4 testing,
scheduled for completion by the end of 2004, includes the transfer of decision making to the air from the ground based control station.
The X-45A air vehicle is of a swept wing stealthy design and composite construction using foam matrix core and a composite fibre reinforced epoxy
skin, with a wingspan of 10.31m and overall length 8.03m. There is no vertical or canted tail. The low mounted wing and blended fuselage has a
straight leading edge and W planform trailing edge.
The fuselage carries two internally housed weapons bays and an internally mounted Honeywell F124-GA-100 non-afterburning turbofan engine. The engine,
rated at 28kN, is equipped with a notched air intake and a two dimensionally yaw-vectoring nozzle exhaust. The fuel load is 1,220kg.
The vehicle carries a payload of 680kg. The air vehicle incorporates underwing hardpoints for carrying auxiliary fuel tanks for increased range or
increased time on station or for additional weapon carrying capacity.
The air vehicle is fitted with fully retractable tricycle landing gear for conventional autonomous take-off and landings.
The air vehicle is capable of operating at an altitude of 10,670m (35,000ft) and has a cruise speed of Mach 0.75.
The X-45 is air transportable to forward areas of operation. The wings are detachable from the fuselage so the air vehicle can be stored and
transported in a storage container. A single C-17 Globemaster can carry up to six X-45A containerised UCAVS.
Boeing planned the development and construction of two UCAV prototype air vehicles, X-45B, a larger air vehicle than the X-45A with an integrated
avionics system, increased weapon delivery capacity and increased operating range and altitude. A fully operational version of the prototype X-45B was
designated A-45, for entry into service with the USAF in 2008 but the X-45B program was superseded by the Joint-UCAS program and the development of
In June 2003 DARPA announced the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program which combined the DARPA/USAF UCAV and the DARPA/USN UCAV-N
programs. In early 2003, DARPA announced the cancellation of the X-45B and the approval for the development of a larger and improved UCAV system,
comprising the X-45C air vehicle, mission control, support and simulation systems.
The X-45C has a larger payload performance (2,041kg), persistence and range envelope than the X-45B. The X-45C has a similar fuselage design to that
of the X-45B but with a new wing design that gives the X-45C its distinctive arrowhead shaped profile. Boeing began assembly of the first of three
X-45C demonstrators in June 2004 and first flight will be in early 2007, to be followed by a two-year operational assessment.
The air vehicle can carry advanced precision guided munitions, 2,000lb bombs or other munitions and weapons systems.
The X-45 air vehicle is equipped with a suite of sensors including an active electronically scanned array (AESA) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and an
electronic support measures system developed by Raytheon. The Raytheon synthetic aperture radar provides a resolution of 60cm at a target range of
The sensor suite allows detection, identification and location of fixed and mobile targets in near real-time. The battlefield situation and target
data is downloaded via secure datalinks to the ground control operator station, to aircraft or to satellite datalinks. The operator station is
equipped with artificial intelligence decision aids to assist the operator in the assessment of the battlefield situation and in his decision to
authorise UCAV weapons release.
The taxiing, take-off and landing are fully autonomous but a pilot-operator has the option of controlling these manoeuvres. The UCAV Ground Control
Station has been designed by NASA. BAE Systems Controls has been contracted to supply the computerised air vehicle management system. The air vehicle
is fitted with a Milstar satellite communications link.