North American X-10

North American X-10

North American X-10

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The North American X-10 (model RTV-A-5) was an unmanned technology demonstrator for advanced missile technologies during the 1950s. The X-10 was similar to the development of Bell's X-9 Shrike project.


To facilitate development of the long-range SM-64 Navaho surface-to-surface cruise missile, North American Aviation developed the RTV-A-5, or X-10 in 1951. This vehicle was to prove out critical flight technology for the design of the cruise vehicle of the Navaho missile design. These included proving the basic aerodynamics out to Mach 2, flight testing the inertial guidance unit and flight control avionics to the same speed, and finally validate the recovery system for the next phase in the Navaho program. Preliminary design of the X-10 was completed in February of 1951 and the first vehicle was delivered to Edwards Air Force Base in May of 1953. The first flight occurred on October 14, 1953.

The X-10 was powered by two Westinghouse J40 turbojet engines with afterburners, and equipped with landing gear for conventional take off and landing. The combination of a delta wing with an all-moving canard gave it extremely good aerodynamics in the trans-sonic and supersonic environments. It also made the vehicle unstable requiring active computer flight control in the form of an autopilot. Thus, the X-10 is similar to modern military fighters which are flown by the onboard computer and not directly by the pilot. In this same...
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