The Boeing X-32 was a concept demonstrator aircraft in the Joint Strike Fighter contest.
It lost to the Lockheed Martin X-35 demonstrator which was further developed into the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.
On Sept. 18, 2000, the X-32A made its first flight from Palmdale to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The X-32A demonstrated conventional takeoff and landing characteristics
The aircraft made 66 flights during four months of testing. The flights validated the aircraft’s handling qualities for inflight refueling, weapons bay operations and supersonic flight.
The X-32B aircraft made its first flight on March 29, 2001.
It made 78 test flights in four months, including a transcontinental ferry flight from Edwards Air Force Base to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
The aircraft successfully transitioned to and from STOVL flight mode by using its direct-lift system to redirect thrust from the aircraft’s cruise nozzle to the lift nozzles.
The X-32B also demonstrated its ability to hover and make vertical landings.
The X-32 has large one-piece carbon fiber composite delta wing.
The wing had a span of 9.15 meters, with a 55-degree leading edge sweep and could hold up to 20,000 pounds of fuel.
The purpose of the high sweep angle was to allow for a thick wing section to be used while still providing limited transonic aerodynamic drag and to provide a good angle for wing-installed conformal antenna equipment.
The wing would prove a challenge to fabricate.
By comparison, the Lockheed entry looked like, if anything, a smaller version of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter. The Boeing in-house nickname of the X-32 was the “Monica”.