Boeing YF-32 Demonstrator

The aircraft's nose was also remolded as well to accommodate a radar and its notorious inlet design would become a bit less 'gaping' and included a more refined forward-swept 'underbite.'

Boeing: YF-32 Concept

Role Experimental stealth fighter
Manufacturer Boeing
First flight 18 September 2000
Primary user Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency (DARPA)

Boeing Millitary

Boeing YF-32 Demonstrator (2000)

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YF-32 Demonstrator (2000)

The Boeing X-32 is a concept demonstrator aircraft that was designed for the Joint Strike Fighter competition. It lost to the Lockheed Martin X-35 demonstrator, which was further developed into the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II.

In 1993, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter project (CALF). The project’s purpose was to develop a stealth-enabled design to replace all of United States Department of Defense lighter weight fighter and attack aircraft, including the F-16 Fighting FalconMcDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, and vertical/short takeoff / vertical landing (V/STOLAV-8B Harrier II.[1] Around the same time the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) project was started.[2] In 1994, the U.S. Congress ordered the two to be merged into the Joint Strike Fighter program.


Boeing’s strategy for a competitive advantage was to offer substantially lower manufacturing and life-cycle costs by minimizing variations between the different JSF versions. The X-32 therefore was designed around a 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 (9,000 kg) 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.[3] The wing would prove a challenge to fabricate.[4][5]

The compete-on-cost strategy also led Boeing to pick a direct-lift thrust vectoring system, for the Marines’ short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) requirement, as this would only necessitate the addition of a thrust vectoring module around the main engine


  • Due to the heavy delta wing design of the X-32, Boeing demonstrated STOVL and supersonic flight in separate configurations, with the STOVL configuration requiring that some parts be removed from the fighter. The company promised that their conventional tail design for production models would not require separate configurations. By contrast, the Lockheed Martin X-35 concept demonstrator aircraft were capable of transitioning between their STOVL and supersonic configurations in mid-flight

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Boeing YF-32 (2000)

In 2005, the Boeing X-32A was transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. Its condition deteriorated due to being outside for several years following the end of the JSF competition, but it is now indoors and planned to be restored.

The X-32B was transferred to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum adjacent to NAS Patuxent River in St. Mary’s County, Maryland in 2005. It underwent restoration at the museum’s restoration facility in June 2009 and is now on displa


    • Crew: 1
    • Length: 45 ft 0.1 in (13.72 m)
    • Wingspan: 36 ft 0 in (10.97 m)
    • Height: 17 ft 3.8 in (5.28 m)
    • Wing area: 590 sq ft (54.8 m2)
    • Empty weight: 24,030 lb (10,900 kg)
    • Max takeoff weight: 38,000 lb (17,200 kg)
    • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney YF119-PW-614 afterburning turbofan, 28,000 lbf (120 kN) thrust dry, 43,000 
  • Maximum speed: 1,200 mph (1,931 km/h, 1,000 kn) at altitude
  • Maximum speed: Mach 1.6
  • Range on USAF mission profile: 850 nmi (1574 km)
  • Range on USN mission profile: 750 nmi (1,389 km)
  • Range on USMC/RN mission profile: 600 nmi (1112 km)




  • 20 mm M61A2 cannon, or 27 mm Mauser BK-27 cannon
  • Internal: 6 AMRAAM air-air missiles or 2 AMRAAM air-air missiles and 2 x 2,000 lb (900 kg) class guided bombs
  • External: Approx. 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) of full range of external stores including guided weapons, anti-radiation missile, air-to-surface weapons, auxiliary fuel tanks

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The Department of Defense (DoD) didn’t have to opt for the F-35. In the 1990s, both Boeing and Lockheed Martin bid for the next big fighter contract, a plane that would serve in each of the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, as well as grace the air forces of many US allies. Boeing served up the X-32; Lockheed the X-35.

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