Two Boeing [NYSE: BA] technology demonstrator aircraft today officially became part of the world's oldest and largest military aviation museum -- the prestigious United States Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio.
The Bird of Prey technology demonstrator and the X-36 flight demonstrator were welcomed into the museum's collection in a ceremony this afternoon. Designed, produced and demonstrated by Boeing Phantom Works, the company's advanced research & development unit that serves as a catalyst of innovation for the enterprise, both aircraft will now be on permanent display at the museum, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The Boeing-funded Bird of Prey pioneered breakthrough low-observable technologies and revolutionized aircraft design, development and production techniques. The once highly classified project extended from 1992 through 1999, and developed technologies and capabilities that have become industry standards.
Jointly funded under a 50/50 cost-sharing arrangement between Boeing and NASA, the X-36 is a 28-percent scale tailless agility flight demonstrator, designed, built, and successfully flight-tested between 1993 and 1998. The remotely piloted research aircraft combined several key emerging technologies to demonstrate for the first time, tailless high angle of attack agility, and low-observability in a combat style unmanned configuration.
"Over a million people each year will be able to view not only the past but also the future of aerospace," said George Muellner, senior vice president and general manager of Air Force Systems for Boeing. "The technical achievements and applications to future aircraft that the Bird of Prey and the X-36 Research Aircraft introduced will be forever noted, as they join the largest and finest collection of aircraft and missiles in the world."
Charles D. Metcalf, U.S. Air Force Museum director, concurred. "The addition of the Bird of Prey and X-36 to our growing collection is significant because these demonstrators helped pioneer stealth technology and revolutionize aircraft design and production," said Metcalf. "As proud as we are to portray Air Force history, we also want to present modern technology and give our visitors a picture of how today's evolving capabilities are shaping tomorrow's Air Force."
The United States Air Force Museum attracts 1.2 million visitors a year and boasts a collection of more than 300 aircraft and missiles, thousands of artifacts and a comprehensive storyline that connects the earliest days of flight with today's stealth age. Through its massive collection, sensory exhibits, special events and educational programs, the museum presents the mission, history and evolving capabilities of America's Air Force to the world.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $25 billion business. It provides systems solutions to its global military, government and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in launch services.