Boeing to Develop X-48B Blended Wing:

Cooperating with NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory, Boeing’s Phantom Works is moving ahead with “exploring and validating” the structural, aerodynamic, and operational advantages of a new aircraft design, called blended wing body, that USAF has designated X-48B. According to a company statement, Boeing has designed and built two BWB prototypes for wind tunnel and flight testing this year. The first aircraft began wind tunnel testing last month at the Langley Full-Scale Tunnel at NASA’s Langley Research Center. After testing wraps this month, the prototype will be shipped to NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in California to be used as a backup for the second vehicle that will be flight tested. Those on the BWB team believe the concept is capable of a wide range of applications—from aerial tanker to weapons carriage and command and control, according to Capt. Scott Bjorge, the AFRL X-48B program manager.