Boeing has new aircraft design
Boeing is famous for their line of commercial aircraft, but they are also one of the bigwigs when it comes to fulfilling defense contracts. The company has just unveiled what looks to be a variant of the F-117 Night Hawk fighter, featuring a blended wing design. This unmanned test aircraft took to the skies for the first time last week and is touted to be able to lug around more equipment while being more fuel efficient and quieter than traditional aircraft. This aircraft was designed and engineered by three parties – Boeing, NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory.
The long term goal of this project is to develop a manned multi-role, long-range, high-capacity military aircraft. Sounds like a pretty tall order, but as you can tell from current military aircraft and designs, what seemed an impossibility a few years ago is now reality. The blended wing body design is essential in providing unprecedented stability and flight control characteristics that come into play during both takeoffs and landings. It might look like a flying wing at first glance, but it actually blends smoothly into a wide, flat, tailless fuselage that provides additional lift while eliminating drag that is associated with the standard circular fuselage for greater fuel efficiency.
In addition, the engines were mounted high on the back of the aircraft, making them emit way less noise inside and on the ground whenever it takes to the skies. A trio of turbojet engines allow this blended wing design to fly up to 10,000 feet high at 120 knots in its low speed configuration. A forward looking camera affixed to the aircraft enables the pilot to use conventional aircraft controls to fly it remotely from a ground control station. Just like some species in the animal kingdom, there is a reason for not having a tail. This prototype aircraft has been dubbed the X-48B by the Air Force.
Source: Network World