Edwards AFB - Apr 13, 2004
The Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) program conducted a weapons separation test of an inert bomb from a X-45A technology demonstrator, marking the first time that an unmanned aircraft has released a weapon from an internal bay, and the first time that a weapon has been released from a high-speed, high-performance, unmanned aircraft with a stealthy shape.
On March 20, during its fourth flight in 10 days, X-45A air vehicle 1 took off from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The release went flawlessly and the separation was clean, smooth, and stable. The jettison, at 0.67 Mach and 35,000 feet, was conducted over the Edwards Precision Impact Range Area.
The weapon release used an inert (non-explosive), unguided 250-pound Small Smart Bomb. In the coming weeks, an X-45A will release a guided, inert Small Smart Bomb in a joint demonstration at the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif. That release will mark the first time that a GPS-guided weapon has been released from an unmanned system