News Release on Tacit Blue by D.O.D.

U.S. Air Force unveils the Tacit Blue Technology Demonstration Program aircraft

The U.S. Air Force unveiled the Tacit Blue Technology Demonstration Program on April 30, 1996, at the Pentagon. Tacit Blue was created to demonstrate that a low observable surveillance aircraft with a low probability of intercept radar and other sensors could operate close to the forward line of battle with a high degree of survivability. Such an aircraft could continuously monitor the ground situation behind the battlefield and provide targeting information in real-time to a ground command center. Tacit Blue validated a number of innovative stealth technology advances.

    Tacit Blue featured a straight tapered wing with a Vee tail mounted on an oversized fuselage with a curved shape. The aircraft has a wingspan of 48.2 feet and a length of 55.8 feet and weighed 30,000 pounds. A single flush inlet on the top of the fuselage provided air to two high-bypass turbofan engines. Tacit Blue employed a quadruply redundant, digital fly by wire flight control system to help stabilize the aircraft about the longitudinal and directional axes.

    The aircraft made its first flight in February 1982, and subsequently logged 135 flights over a three year period. The aircraft often flew three to four flights weekly and several times flew more than once a day. The aircraft has been in storage since 1985. DoD photo.


updated 2/15/2002