Boeing quietly has been developing a new class of aircraft with multiple applications. The press doesn't report on this project because it does not relate or equate its conventional wisdom on air travel by Blended Wing Body (BWB). Boeing is now testing the X-48C as a working model for validating avionics, confirming Blended Wing feasibility, for structural limits and material components. It is reviewing and testing various possibilities for the commercial and military aircraft applications.
The video from Boeing is shown from its website, as quite an eye opener for those aviation buffs who wonder where the future will go next. Remote driven drones landing and taking off of aircraft carriers is not that far into the future.
What do Boeing and Grumman say:
- 25 years into the future
- Commercial passenger application
- Commercial cargo lifter
- Military Drone and Fighter
- Military Naval Applications (Grumman Testing)
- Mobile Fighter Wing assigned to remote areas shipped in cargo packages: by land, sea, and air.
Just think, having 200 full military sized drone fighters stacked in pens deep below the deck of an aircraft carrier. Above that a room full of pilots sitting at workstations linked to satellites and sending signals back to the warfighters uploading onto the deck. A range of over a 1000 miles and deployment in multi-directions in minutes. Simultaneously, controlled by systems, deck pilots, and programmed missions. This is where the Airforce and Navy are heading in 25 years.
Grumman's Military Application: X 47B War Bird
Yikes: It will take-off of Carriers
USS Harry Truman Loading
A second thought: A large immense flying wing carrying 500 passengers around the world in a theatre like the spread of comfortable personal spaces for its passenger. Fuel economy that cannot be matched. Quiet and easily serviced. The wing would not necessitate an airport rebuild to fit a large BWB, but instead, it would become a standard for short high-density commuter flights or long-range routes around the world. Conventional Aircraft, Obsolescence? No, but a new niche, that efficiently carries the masses where it wants to go.
Cargo: the irregular cargo shape problem diminishes. A manufacturer has to move parts that are too wide or long and could not fit on a conventional aircraft's long narrow tube. However, this wing could have a tail that opens to fifty feet wide and maybe go in a hundred feet deep which could carry drone blended wing fighters to theatres of operations, or carry many pallets of what can fit, in lbs, on the blended winged cargo ship.
Boeing is testing this small version to validate its avionics, structure, and capabilities before throwing in on its Next Big Idea. I would like to believe they have a viable concept that could be employed by the military testing these prototypical models and is just finishing those tests. They have scheduled a carrier takeoff and landing in the near future. That is a big hint.
Below is the first ever X-48C flight: