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 SEATTLE, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing Defense & Space Group announced today it is developing a concept for a modular, multi-role airplane that could perform conventional takeoff and landing missions for the U.S. Air Force, short takeoff and vertical landing missions for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, as well as conventional carrier takeoff and landings for the Navy.
 "We believe all of these missions could be accomplished by a modular airplane with 90 to 95 percent common components by weight," said Mickey Michellich, director of Advanced Tactical Aircraft Programs for Boeing Defense & Space Group, Military Airplanes Division.
 Such missions currently are performed by several aircraft, including the F-16, AV-8B, and F-18. By 2010 to 2015, many of these aircraft will need to be replaced.
 Work at Boeing is focusing on a lightweight, low-cost airplane that does not significantly sacrifice range or payload capabilities.
 The company has evolved a concept that takes advantage of advances in composite materials technology -- allowing a much greater portion of the structure to be built of composites than existing or planned designs. The unique modular approach would allow different versions of the airplane to be built on the same factory production line, minimizing assembly costs. In addition, the concept would further minimize costs by maximizing commonality with F-22 air superiority fighter avionics, cockpit, software and sensors.
 "We're excited because our work is proving that the idea is affordable, as well as technically feasible," Michellich said. "We believe there is a substantial market for such an airplane, both in the United States and in other countries."
 Boeing is working with engine-makers General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce on possible propulsions system. In the short takeoff and landing configuration, a vertical-lift propulsion system similar to that used on the proven AV-8B Harrier fighter was chosen to minimize impacts to the airplane's structure.
 The vertical-lift propulsion system currently is being tested at the company's propulsion/nozzle test facility near Boeing Field. Data gathered from the tests, together with data from ongoing wind-tunnel and water-tunnel testing, will establish a propulsion and performance data base for flight simulation.
 Simulations of aircraft flying qualities, short takeoff and vertical landing handling qualities, and selected air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon delivery capabilities are planned for evaluation at the Boeing Integrated Technology Development Laboratory facility by the end of the year.
 Boeing and the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) have entered into an agreement concerning the Advanced Short Takeoff and Vertical Landing/Conventional Takeoff and Landing Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter Technology Demonstration Program. Under this agreement, ARPA and Boeing will hold joint technical reviews, define operational goals and requirements, and work together during testing at government and Boeing test facilities.
 Boeing Defense & Space Group, Military Airplanes Division develops and produces a variety of advanced military aircraft, including the F-22 and the B-2 bomber, and plans to play key roles on future programs. The Seattle-based division is a world leader in advanced composites technology, avionics integration, integrated flight and propulsion control, and operates industry leading laboratories for advanced development of tactical aircraft at its Developmental Center. In addition, Boeing works on many research projects that are advancing the state-of-the-art for tactical aircraft.
 -0- 11/4/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Artwork is available from Boeing Defense & Space Group, Military Airplanes Division, 206-655-1198/
 /CONTACT: Peri Widener, or Tom Koehler, of Boeing Defense & Space Group, Military Airplanes Division, 206-655-1198/

CO: Boeing Defense & Space Group, Military Airplanes Division; Advanced
 Research Projects Agency ST: Washington IN: ARO SU: PDT

RB-IC -- SE001 -- 0480 11/04/93 07:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 4, 1993

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