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Boeing X-53

Andreas Parsch

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Andreas Parsch said:
However, no information about the specific air vehicle, to which X-53A applies, came forward. There was an AAW (Active Aeroelastic Wing) program going on at the AFRL from 2002 to mid-2005, using a modified F-18. There were follow-on programs (e.g. here and here), and my guess is that X-53A has been reserved for a possible full scale flying AAW testbed.
To put this issue to rest: I just learned that the X-53A designation was actually applied to the F/A-18A (s/n NASA 853) modified for AAW research.
 

flateric

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Ugh...when I was young, X- designation wouldn't be given to an aircraft so easily)))
 

CammNut

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Andreas Parsch said:
I just learned that the X-53A designation was actually applied to the F/A-18A (s/n NASA 853) modified for AAW research.

From a USAF release dated 7 May:

Active Aeroelastic Wing Flight Research Vehicle Receives X-53 Designation

The X-53

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by Air Vehicles Directorate
AFRL/VA

5/7/2007 - WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- AFRL researchers received word regarding the Active Aeroelastic Wing (AAW) flight demonstrator's assignment to mission design series number X-53. The designation makes the vehicle AFRL's first successfully initiated X plane since the X-24 lifting body concept, which was later employed on the space shuttle.

Receiving X-53 designation marks an important step forward in AAW technology. The X-53 moniker affords the vehicle a higher recognition factor and will likely generate greater interest in the concept from a technology transition perspective. The AAW concept may play a crucial role in future aircraft, including strike unmanned air vehicles and global engagement bombers.
 

GTX

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I have the first, until X-31 and I love it. It is full of info

As do I. What would be nice (though unrealistic, I know) is if it were possible to only buy the updated/new information rather than the entire book.

Regards,

Greg
 

Maveric

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Hi all,

two views of the Boeing X-53.
( Source: FliegerRevue )

Servus Maveric
 

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CFE

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The X-plane designations get further cheapened. Now we're giving them to mods of existing aircraft? At least planes like the X-14 and X-21 were drastically different from the planes they were based on. The F-111 with variable-camber wings never got an X-plane designation, nor did the F-8 with supercritical wings.
 

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Neither did the AFTI F-16 or canard and TVC equipped F-15. BTW what is the X-52? ???
 

Matej

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sferrin said:
Neither did the AFTI F-16 or canard and TVC equipped F-15. BTW what is the X-52? ???

Currently nothing with the strange explanation, that they don't want to confuse X-52 with the B-52 (!).......
 

Andreas Parsch

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Matej said:
sferrin said:
BTW what is the X-52? ???

Currently nothing with the strange explanation, that they don't want to confuse X-52 with the B-52 (!).......

There is currently a policy in effect to avoid duplication of "well-known" (a very loosely defined term ;D ) numbers. (B-)52 is only one example of this rather questionable procedure ::)
 

elmayerle

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I udnerstand that the early F-18s, like those NASA flies, have some aeroelastic problems that required stiffening for production aircraft but which make them perfect for this research effort. I seem to remember an article in Flight International on this concept, though not this designation, some years back.
 

Michel Van

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The X-plane designations get further cheapened. Now we're giving them to mods of existing aircraft?
wat you want ? the F-18 is build by Boeing now.

Some X-plane have even wierd Origin !
like Grumman X-29 made out a Northrop F-5A airframes!

BTW what is the X-52?
Currently nothing with the strange explanation, that they don't want to confuse X-52 with the B-52 (!)
or is a Ultra Top Secret X-plane for Aera 51
 

fightingirish

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Maybe the F/A-18A (s/n NASA 853) got the X-53 designation to gain more money at Congress and from other sponsors. Just remembers me very much about the F-22A -> F/A-22A ->F-22A designation story... ::)
 

Andreas Parsch

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fightingirish said:
Maybe the F/A-18A (s/n NASA 853) got the X-53 designation to gain more money at Congress and from other sponsors.
In its press release (already partially quoted above by Cammnut), AFRL effectively admits that this was indeed the reason ;D :

[...] The X-53 moniker gives the vehicle a higher recognition factor and will likely generate greater interest in the concept [...]
 

sferrin

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fightingirish said:
Maybe the F/A-18A (s/n NASA 853) got the X-53 designation to gain more money at Congress and from other sponsors. Just remembers me very much about the F-22A -> F/A-22A ->F-22A designation story... ::)

The "F/A" designation wasn't intended to get additional money. It was more to stop the slash and burn. As it was it was so blatantly obviously a marketing sheme I think the USAF was embarassed enough to change it back. (They did change it back just not sure what the "official" reason was.)
 

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In the Hornet's case, the "F/A-18" moniker was conceived to appease the A-7 community, who felt that attack would get the short end of the stick in the F-18. Sure enough, the Hornet has proven to be a weaker strike platform than the A-7 in many aspects.
 

fightingirish

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sferrin said:
fightingirish said:
Maybe the F/A-18A (s/n NASA 853) got the X-53 designation to gain more money at Congress and from other sponsors. Just remembers me very much about the F-22A -> F/A-22A ->F-22A designation story... ::)

The "F/A" designation wasn't intended to get additional money. It was more to stop the slash and burn. As it was it was so blatantly obviously a marketing sheme I think the USAF was embarassed enough to change it back. (They did change it back just not sure what the "official" reason was.)

Well, I thought, the designation "F/A-22" was intended to highlight plans to give the Raptor a ground-attack capability amid intense debate over the relevance of the expensive air-superiority jet.
At that time they were thinking that the "F/A-22" should take over the role of the F-117, so they needed more money for GBU-39 SDB addition.
 

Vahe Demirjian

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A little bit info about the first flight of the X-53 is available at this link:


In other words, the AAW F-18 flew long before it was designated X-53.
 
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