The Boeing X-45A unmanned combat air vehicle was officially inducted into the National Museum of the United States Air Force collection during a special ceremony on Nov. 13, 2006. Here, retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, museum director, addresses the audience. (U.S. Air Force photo)
by Sarah Swan
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
11/14/2006 - DAYTON, Ohio (AFPN) -- The Boeing X-45A unmanned combat air vehicle was officially inducted into the National Museum of the United States Air Force collection during a ceremony Nov. 13.
"The X-45A is a prime example of an air vehicle that points to the future of our Air Force," said retired Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, museum director. "Unmanned aerial vehicles are increasingly being used, and we are excited to show the public the giant step that has been taken with these aircraft."
The Boeing X-45A served as a scaled-down, advanced technology demonstrator for a project conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and the U.S. Air Force. The goal was to demonstrate the technologies needed to conduct suppression of enemy air defense missions with unmanned combat air vehicles.
In September 2000 Boeing's "Phantom Works" completed the first of two X-45A UCAVs, using research gathered from its manned Bird of Prey aircraft. After extensive ground testing, the first X-45A completed its first flight May 22, 2002 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and the second vehicle followed in November.
During its test program, the X-45A accomplished a number of significant events in aviation history. On April 18, 2004, the X-45A demonstrator hit a ground target with a 250-pound, inert, precision-guided weapon released from its internal weapons bay. On Aug. 1, 2004, for the first time, one pilot-operator successfully controlled two X-45As in flight simultaneously.
This X-45A replaced the museum's previous display of a UCAV model.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Pike, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days per week (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day). Admission and parking are free.