Boeing X-32 | The laughing jet

Fact for 2/6/2021



The Boeing X-32 is a concept demonstrator aircraft that was designed for the Joint Strike Fighter competition. It lost to the Lockheed Martin X-35 demonstrator, which was further developed into the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

It was an Experimental Stealth fighter designed by Boeing 
which took its first flight on 18 september 2000


In 1993, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency launched the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter project . The project's purpose was to develop a stealth-enabled design to replace all of United States Department of Defense lighter weight fighter and attack aircraft, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, and vertical/short takeoff / vertical landing AV-8B Harrier II. Around the same time the Joint Advanced Strike Technology project was started. In 1994, the U.S. Congress ordered the two to be merged into the Joint Strike Fighter program

n 16 November 1996, Boeing and Lockheed Martin were awarded contracts for them to produce two of their concept demonstrator aircraft each. Under the contract, these fighters were required to demonstrate conventional take-off and landing , carrier take-off and landing , and short take-off and vertical landing . They were also expected to include ground demonstrations of a production representative aircraft's systems, such as the Preferred Weapon System Concept.


The X-32 was designed around a large one piece carbon fiber composite delta wing. The wing had a span of 9.15 meters, with a 55-degree leading edge sweep, and could hold up to 20,000 pounds (9,000 kg) of fuel.  The purpose of the high sweep angle was to allow for a thick wing section to be used while still providing limited transonic aerodynamic drag, and to provide a good angle for wing-installed conformal antenna equipment

The compete-on-cost strategy also led Boeing to pick a direct-lift thrust vectoring system, for the Marines' short take-off and vertical landing requirement, as this would only necessitate the addition of a thrust vectoring module around the main engine. However, this choice required the engine to be mounted directly behind the cockpit, and moved the center of gravity forward from its usual position in jet fighters (towards the rear of the airplane) to enable a neutral-attitude hover
another effect of the selection of the direct-lift system was the large chin-mounted air intake. This was required to feed sufficient air to the main engine (to provide the thrust necessary to hover) during the zero horizontal velocity phase, when it could not exploit ram-air pressure. A knock on effect of this large intake, was the potential direct effect on the Radar Cross Section


6 AIM-120 air-air missiles or 2 AIM-120 air-air missiles and 2 x 2,000 lb (900 kg) class guided bombs internally and can carry Approx. 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) of full range of external stores including guided weapons, anti-radiation missile, air-to-surface weapons, auxiliary fuel tanks externally , it had either a 20mm  M61A2 cannon, or 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon