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X-45A Flies Into Turbulent Future
First flight of Boeing's X-45A unmanned combat air vehicle comes at a critical juncture for UCAVs as military planners for the first time seriously examine the value and cost of such systems. The X-45A being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) and the U.S. Air Force flew a short, 14-min. inaugural mission on May 22. Takeoff came at 7:26 a.m. (PDT) from the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center dry lake bed at Edwards AFB, Calif. The aircraft completed its autonomous mission at 7:40 a.m. (PDT). It reached 7,500 ft. altitude and about 195 kt.