Lockheed Martin X-56

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Lockheed Martin X-56A first takeoff.jpg
The X-56A on its first flight
Role Experimental aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Martin Skunk Works
First flight July 26, 2013
Primary users NASA
Air Force Research Laboratory
Number built 2

The Lockheed Martin X-56 is a modular unmanned aerial vehicle designed to explore High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) flight technologies for use in future military unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, as well as contributing knowledge to the future X-54 low-boom supersonic research programme,[citation needed] and future low emissions transport aircraft.

Design and development

Designed by Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs, known informally as the Skunk Works,[1] the aircraft was first revealed by Aviation Week,[2] and is intended to research active flutter suppression and gust-load alleviation technologies. The X-56A is based on Lockheed's earlier UAV work, showing influence from the Polecat, Sentinel and DarkStar UAVs. The programme calls for the construction of two 7.5 feet (2.3 m)-long fuselages and a wingspan of 27.5 ft,[3] with four sets of wings being constructed for flight testing.[4]

Operational history

The X-56A made its first flight on July 26, 2013,[5] flying from Edwards Air Force Base; twenty flights were to be flown on behalf of the Air Force Research Laboratory before the aircraft would be handed over to NASA for further testing.[6]

The first X-56A unmanned aircraft was severely damaged in a crash shortly after takeoff from the dry lakebed at Edwards AFB, California, on 19 November 2015, on its first flexible-wing flight to test active flutter suppression. The aircraft, known as Fido and one of two X-56As built for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) by Lockheed’s Skunk Works, had previously made 16 flights to prove its operating envelope.[7]

Specifications (X-56A)

Data from [5]

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Length: 7.5 ft (2.3 m)
  • Wingspan: 27.5 ft (8.4 m)
  • Powerplant: 2 × JetCat P400 turbojets, 88.7 lbf (0.395 kN) thrust each
  • Maximum speed: 138.1 mph (222 km/h; 120 kn)
  • Maximum speed: Mach 0.17

See also

Related lists


  1. "Introducing the X-56A MUTT: Who Let the Dog Out?". NASA. Retrieved 15 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Norris, Guy. "USAF Reveals Skunk Works-Designed X-56A As Latest X-Plane". aviationweek. Retrieved 15 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Lockheed Martin X-56A Multi-utility Aeroelastic Demonstrator". www.hitechweb.genezis.eu. Retrieved 15 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "X-56A Testbed Arrives At NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center" April 17, 2014. Accessed: .
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jordan, Holly (July 31, 2013). "X-56A technology demonstrator achieves first flight". Wright-Patterson Air Force Base: Air Force Research Laboratory. Retrieved 2013-10-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Warwick, Graham (August 6, 2013). "Skunk Works' X-56A - Taming Flutter". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved 2013-10-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. The Week In Technology 23-27 November, Aviation Week & Space Technology

External links