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[The Real] Lockheed Martin X-44A

XP67_Moonbat

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This just in...

But I'd take it with a grain of salt. Rogoway doesn't really specify WHERE this tidbit of info came from. But the MANTA logo is refreshing to see though.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18211/exclusive-lockheed-skunk-works-x-44a-flying-wing-drone-revealed
 

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quellish

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XP67_Moonbat said:
This just in...

But I'd take it with a grain of salt. Rogoway doesn't really specify WHERE this tidbit of info came from. But the MANTA logo is refreshing to see though.

These two threads appear to be the source:



These are the only sources of information mentioning the things in the article together.
 

sublight is back

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In recent years, the Skunk Works X-44 was refitted and used to evaluate visual cueing systems for the Navy's upcoming Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) tanker drone program.
Either someone is trolling him or he heard it from a reliable source. It's weird that he really skirts away from the source as far as he can.
 

fightingirish

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Source: http://amp.timeinc.net/thedrive/the-war-zone/19582/exclusive-photos-lockheed-skunk-works-x-44a-flying-wing-drone-breaks-cover
Posted via my smartphone. Dear Mods, please feel free to move this post to a more suitable topic.
 

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sublight is back

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Gotta hand it to Tyler, he has been delivering the goods.
 

quellish

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sublight is back said:
Gotta hand it to Tyler, he has been delivering the goods.
Huh? Can you elaborate?
 

TomcatViP

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More seriously, it's a quick strap landing gear, something that can be bolted on for taxying the plane around easily and be flown too apparently for test or relocation.
With the folding wings that suggest a parallel to the body folded position, It is then understandable that this drone could have been made to be quickly transportable either on a trailer or more dramatically by small cargo planes.

The front windows bay and other artifacts seems to suggest a late adaptation with no VLO requirements. Probably a second life (if ever this thing had a first one).

My 2 cents
 

sferrin

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sublight is back said:
Gotta hand it to Tyler, he has been delivering the goods.
A shame that isn't all he delivers.
 

LowObservable

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Jeez, Quellish, some of us check SP over breakfast.

Stay off the methane, dude, that ****'s no good for ya.
 

quellish

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TomcatViP said:
More seriously, it's a quick strap landing gear, something that can be bolted on for taxying the plane around easily and be flown too apparently for test or relocation.
With the folding wings that suggest a parallel to the body folded position, It is then understandable that this drone could have been made to be quickly transportable either on a trailer or more dramatically by small cargo planes.

The front windows bay and other artifacts seems to suggest a late adaptation with no VLO requirements. Probably a second life (if ever this thing had a first one).

My 2 cents
This gear?

The LM engineers were pretty open about the aircraft when asked. I learned a lot about it while talking to them.
 

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xstatic3000

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So in all seriousness - could this be Lockheed's PHAE demonstrator?

quellish said:
Lockheed openly discussing the Penetrating High Altitude Endurance UAV in 2003 as an in house effort:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/tradejournals/article/99696777.html

A snippet:
"The Skunk Works is also studying a Penetrating High-Altitude Endurance (PHAE) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) as a potential successor to the Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk. The effort is based on a company "conviction" that the US Air Force--and possibly other users--will need a more "survivable" globally ranging UAV. Global Hawk was successfully tested for the first time over Afghanistan last year whilst it was still officially in its advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) phase. A PHAE demonstrator vehicle may also be in the offing. "If we decide we need one, we could build it within a year," Kacena says. The Skunk Works PHAE study, which commenced this year, stemmed from initial analysis of the Afghanistan campaign. Had Global Hawk faced a more severe surface-to-air missile (SAM) threat, especially from Russian-developed S-300/400 long range systems, it is questionable whether it would have been able to operate in such an environment, Kacena says. Whilst Global Hawk makes use of some low observability (LO) features, it was never designed as an all-out stealth vehicle--a capability that was to have been vested in the cancelled DarkStar. Survivability, Kacena says, is not just a stealth issue-the platform must also be able to adapt to increasingly complex electronic warfare and information warfare environments."
 

quellish

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xstatic3000 said:
So in all seriousness - could this be Lockheed's PHAE demonstrator?
P-175 may have been the PHAE demonstrator. X-44A was demonstrating something else more fundamental that was a prerequisite for P-175, etc (according to the people I talked to who worked on the program).

Only a few people within Lockheed knew about X-44 until a month or so ago. At that point it was put on the airshow schedule (on the public website) and within Lockheed more people were informed about it.
 

Flyaway

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quellish said:
xstatic3000 said:
So in all seriousness - could this be Lockheed's PHAE demonstrator?
P-175 may have been the PHAE demonstrator. X-44A was demonstrating something else more fundamental that was a prerequisite for P-175, etc (according to the people I talked to who worked on the program).

Only a few people within Lockheed knew about X-44 until a month or so ago. At that point it was put on the airshow schedule (on the public website) and within Lockheed more people were informed about it.
Not everyone has your kind of access so it seems pretty churlish of you to adopt the attitude you have towards Tyler over this story.
 

quellish

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Flyaway said:
Not everyone has your kind of access so it seems pretty churlish of you to adopt the attitude you have towards Tyler over this story.
Excuse me? I went to the air show and talked to the LM employees who were standing by the aircraft answering questions about it. Every member of the public has this level of access.

And what “churlish attitude” are you referring to?
 

TomcatViP

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quellish said:
This gear?

The LM engineers were pretty open about the aircraft when asked. I learned a lot about it while talking to them.
Yes (thx for the pic). What was your opinion after that bit of chat with them?
 

xstatic3000

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quellish said:
xstatic3000 said:
So in all seriousness - could this be Lockheed's PHAE demonstrator?
P-175 may have been the PHAE demonstrator. X-44A was demonstrating something else more fundamental that was a prerequisite for P-175, etc (according to the people I talked to who worked on the program).

Only a few people within Lockheed knew about X-44 until a month or so ago. At that point it was put on the airshow schedule (on the public website) and within Lockheed more people were informed about it.
Thanks for that -and the fact that they were able to keep this under wraps for 15 or so years says a lot about how skilled LMSW has always been with safeguarding proprietary projects.

Hopefully we will find out what DESERT PROWLER was at some point......
 

quellish

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TomcatViP said:
Yes (thx for the pic). What was your opinion after that bit of chat with them?
There are going to be a lot of people speculating about the X-44 for a long time, all of them wrong. They will be looking for something super special about it when there is nothing, even though the program was still important for Lockheed. You can't have Boeing as your wingman forever
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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In recent years, the Skunk Works X-44 was refitted and used to evaluate visual cueing systems for the Navy's upcoming Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) tanker drone program.
Is this why the camera in the nose looks like a quick and dirty refit?
 

quellish

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
In recent years, the Skunk Works X-44 was refitted and used to evaluate visual cueing systems for the Navy's upcoming Carrier Based Aerial Refueling System (CBARS) tanker drone program.
Is this why the camera in the nose looks like a quick and dirty refit?
The person I talked to said it had not been used for that.
The whole aircraft was "quick and dirty". Lockheed had not built a UAV *without a partner* for a very long time. X-44 was built to demonstrate that they could and helped them build the experience and infrastructure for later UAV programs. That was all it was intended to do.
 

Hood

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quellish said:
The person I talked to said it had not been used for that.
The whole aircraft was "quick and dirty". Lockheed had not built a UAV *without a partner* for a very long time. X-44 was built to demonstrate that they could and helped them build the experience and infrastructure for later UAV programs. That was all it was intended to do.
So why did they go to the bother of giving it an 'X' designation, a re-used one at that? Was that simply because the funds for it came from DARPA (perhaps funds left over from the cancelled X-44 MANTA)? Or did LM stick X-44A labels on it before the public display as a marketing ploy to make it look like it was meant to be an important programme like the X-46 and X-47?
 

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So looking at the side view - it appears that the planform is very similar to the P-420 LightStar. Our late friend, Steve Pace, posted a PDF of the patent in our P-420 thread a few years back:

https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,9979.0.html

Mr. London 24/7 located the references to the project in Thomas Erhard's essay.

Steve also wrote about it in his final book, "The Projects of Skunk Works: 75 Years of Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs". :'(

Steve Pace said:
Could this be the patent for the P-140 LightStar, the so-called follow-on to DarkStar, precursor to RQ-170 Sentinel? See pdf. -SP
 

quellish

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Hood said:
So why did they go to the bother of giving it an 'X' designation, a re-used one at that? Was that simply because the funds for it came from DARPA (perhaps funds left over from the cancelled X-44 MANTA)? Or did LM stick X-44A labels on it before the public display as a marketing ploy to make it look like it was meant to be an important programme like the X-46 and X-47?
I did not ask specifically about the designation, but I was told it was an internal Lockheed project.

xstatic3000 said:
So looking at the side view - it appears that the planform is very similar to the P-420 LightStar. Our late friend, Steve Pace, posted a PDF of the patent in our P-420 thread a few years back:
I can't emphasize enough how small X-44 is. It would need a deep fuselage just to fit the engine! There is very very little space for any payload (and it is likely it had none).

I was told there was no (direct) relation to the Knutson patent. I would assume the relationship is only the shared parentage of the "family" of LM LO UAVs - all of these descend from AARS. X-44 demonstrated Lockheed could build their own UAV infrastructure without Boeing. Immediately after that Polecat and Sentinel were developed around the same time, one for high altitude and the other medium altitude.
 

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xstatic3000 said:
quellish said:
xstatic3000 said:
So in all seriousness - could this be Lockheed's PHAE demonstrator?

Hopefully we will find out what DESERT PROWLER was at some point......
There is some evidence that suggests DESERT PROWLER was indeed the P-170 as some people suspected early on. The DP made its first flight in 2005. A fully operational RQ-170 was first seen (seen, mind you!) in 2009, and had likely been operating in a more clandestine fashion for some time previously.
 

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X-44A gets a brief mention (from 14m 57s) in the July 2019 episode of the Skunk Works podcast:


'Internal Tech Demo platform, late 90's early 2000's, rapid manufacturing, common flight control, ground control architectures, 'Virtual Pilot Display' (digital representation of view): a lot of early work translated into P-175 project' (P-175 Polecat then also mentioned from 17m 48s)....
 

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So, what exactly was the other X-44?
 

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I love that Boeing X Plane in back. Every time I see it, I think of the Seaview.
 
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