Dragon DRW56330 NASA Boeing 747 w/X-45C "Phantom Ray" Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle - Edwards AFB (1:400 Scale)
"Obsolete weapons do not deter."
- British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
The Boeing X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle is a concept demonstrator for a next generation of completely autonomous military aircraft, developed by Boeing's Phantom Works. Manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, the X-45 was a part of DARPA's J-UCAS project.
Boeing developed the X-45 from research gathered during the development of the Bird of Prey. The X-45 features an extremely low-profile dorsal intake placed near the leading edge of the aircraft. The center fuselage is blended into a swept lambda wing, with a small exhaust outlet. It has no vertical control surfaces split ailerons near each wingtip function as asymmetric air brakes, providing rudder control, much as in Northrop's flying wings. Removing the pilot and its associated facilities dramatically reduces the aircraft's cost. Operators may remotely command the aircraft, but the actual piloting is autonomous.
The larger X-45B design was modified to have even more fuel capacity and three times greater combat range, becoming the X-45C. Each wing's leading edge spans from the nose to the wingtip, giving the aircraft more wing area, and a planform very similar to the B-2 Spirits'. The first of the three planned X-45C aircraft was originally scheduled to be completed in 2006, with capability demonstrations scheduled for early 2007. By 2010 Boeing hoped to complete an autonomous aerial refueling of the X-45C by a KC-135 Stratotanker. Boeing has displayed a mock-up of the X-45C on static displays at many airshows.
The X-45C portion of the program received $767 million from DARPA in October 2004, to construct and test three aircraft, along with several supplemental goals. The X-45C included an F404 engine. In July 2005, DARPA awarded an additional $175 million to continue the program, as well as implement autonomous Aerial Refueling technology.
As of March 2nd, 2006, the US Air Force has decided not to continue with the X-45 project. However, Boeing submitted a proposal to the Navy for a carrier based demonstrator version of the X-45, designated the X-45N.
Dragon has produced a fine 1/400 scale model of the advanced Phantom Ray perched atop its Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (N905NA). This 747 carried the Phantom Ray aloft for a 50-minute test flight on December 13th, 2010. On the following day, the SCA took the UCAV to Edwards Air Force Base to begin a battery of tests. The swept lambda wing and streamlined shape of the UCAV is recreated in fine detail. As a conceptual UCAV design that was only recently revealed, the model employs all-new tooling. The support frame for it when carried on the 747 is also new. This is a masterpiece of model engineering, one that mimics the advanced research being invested in this conceptual demonstrator by Boeing. Now in stock!
Wingspan: 5 inches
Length: 5-1/4 inches
Release Date: December 2011
Historical Account: "The Phantom Works" - Boeing plans to develop and demonstrate an unmanned flying test bed for advanced air system technologies. The internally funded program, called Phantom Ray, will use the X-45C prototype vehicle that Boeing originally developed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)/U.S. Air Force/U.S. Navy Joint-Unmanned Combat Air System (J-UCAS) program. The UAV is not aimed at any particular program or competition.
The Phantom Works division is the advanced prototyping arm of the Defense and Security side of The Boeing Company. Its primary focus is developing advanced military products and technologies, many of them highly classified, and has produced breakthroughs in defense, space and security.
Founded by McDonnell Douglas, the research and development group continued after Boeing acquired the company. Its logo was derived from the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom combat jet.
Phantom Works' organization mirrors that of Boeing's Defense business units, developing new products for their "sister" units. Their ideas are further developed by the Boeing research and technology organization, which adds engineering and manufacturing technologies for use by Boeing's Commercial and Defense units.