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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 developmentEdit

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 (Template:Convert/round m)-long fuselages and a wingspan of 27.5 ft,[3] with four sets of wings being constructed for flight testing.[4]

Operational historyEdit

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)Edit

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See alsoEdit

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ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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