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Boeing Model 853

The Quiet Bird was a version of the Boeing Model 853 which started out as an Army observation airplane study. A version of the 853 study was used to test materials and shapes that would reduce radar cross sections (RCS). The result was a strangely modern design quite unlike the fasceted design of the much later F-117 stealth fighter. Only recently come to light, their Model 853, aka "Quiet Bird," was a tactical fighter design that incorporated many of the features now common to stealth aircraft. These included:

  • A chine-line that separates a smooth, curved bottom from a trapezoid-shaped fuselage.
  • Canted tails.
  • Low-observable inlets and curved ducts.
  • A exhaust designed to shield the infra-red signature from the ground and sides.

The model of Quiet Bird was said to have been tested at Boeings Wichita facility in 1962-1963, all of which occurred on a radar range. No actual flight testing of Quiet Bird itself was said to have happened. The tests reportedly achieved excellent results in reduced radar cross section, but it was a bit ahead of its time and did not generate interest from the military.

The lessons learned on Quiet Bird probably did influence the design of the Boeing AGM-86 Air Launched Cruise Missile. Internally Boeing continued to work on the non-metallic structures aspects that were pioneered with Quiet Bird, and that effort eventually lead to the use of increasingly larger and more complex composite structures in Boeing aircraft.

Crew 1
Length 33 ft (10.06 m)
Wingspan 33.65 ft (10.26 m)
Height 7.7 ft ()
Wing area 179.5 sq ft (16.67 m)
Airfoil 65A415
Empty weight 6000 lb (2721 kg)
Loaded weight 8150 lb (3696 kg)
Powerplant 1 General Electric CF700 , 4,200 lbf (18.7 kN)
Cruise speed 0.7 mach
Stall speed 80 kn ()
Range 1160 nmi ()
Service ceiling 47,000 ft ()
Rate of climb 3,050 ft/min ()
Wing loading 45.4 lb/(sq ft) (221 kg/m)
Thrust/weight 0.52

Boeing Model 853

Boeing Model 853 Boeing Model 853 Boeing Model 853



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Page last modified: 07-09-2018 07:20:53 ZULU