Boeing displayed its vision of the future of air warfare Tuesday, a batlike model of a small fighter craft that exudes silent menace.
...it has no windows. And its profile is flat, four feet from top to bottom. At the front, where the cockpit should be, there's a gaping hole for engine air intake.
The airplane is "piloted" by someone watching a computer screen in a fortified trailer that can be deployed near a war zone. "This is fly by mouse,"
Flying at Mach 0.8 at an altitude of 40,000 feet, the X-45 will have a range of up to 1,500 miles, compared with about 600 miles for a Boeing-built F-18 manned fighter jet.
The Pentagon wants unmanned aircraft in all shapes and sizes to cut down casualties — and to cut costs.
no pricing data are available, but "historically, we price it by the pound." The X-45 has an empty weight of 18,000 pounds, 10 percent lighter than the small single-seater manned fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-16.
At that weight, said Teal's Aboulafia, a manned fighter would cost about $40 million and an unmanned one that could do without pilot-centered systems might cost $25 million to $28 million, depending on production rates.