Boeing unveils airlifter concept with stealth design

Flying wing-shaped aircraft can serve as a replacement for the C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster in transport, in-flight refueling and electronic warfare missions

Boeing has unveiled a concept military tactical transport aircraft featuring a ‘Blended Wing Body’ (BWB) design with stealth features.

Presented in the form of a reduced-scale model, the project, for the time being, had no further details disclosed by the company, which exhibited the concept at AIAA SciTech, a forum and exhibition organized by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), in Fort Washington, Maryland, in the United States.

Journalist Guy Norris, senior editor of Aviation & Week, shared the first images of the concept, which he said was a “refined design” of the BWB aircraft being studied by Boeing. He further added that the stealth airlifter could be a successor to the C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster aircraft.

Although it seems an odd idea, the US Air Force (USAF) has been considering the use of stealth aircraft in tactical and logistical transport missions, among other tasks.

The most recent statement on the subject came from Frank Kendall, USAF Acquisitions Secretary. During a webinar in early January, the official advocated bringing stealth technology to other segments of military aviation beyond the fighter and bomber sectors. The change, according to Kendall, is necessary due to advances in range and accuracy of missiles designed in China.

“Adversaries like China are able to track and shoot U.S. aircraft from increasingly long ranges, so mobility aircraft must be designed with survivability in mind,” said the USAF secretary, adding that stealth design can be employed by aerial refueling, tactical transport and electronic warfare aircraft.

Boeing X-48B Blended Wing Body (USAF)


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