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X-31 wrecked after test-flight crash

One of two Rockwell/Daimler-Benz Aerospace X-31 enhanced-fighter- manoeuvrability demonstrators crashed near Edwards AFB, California, on 19 January. German test-pilot Karl Lang ejected safely.

The single-engined canard-delta aircraft, designed to be used in high angle-of-attack, post-stall manoeuvres using thrust vectoring, was being flown back from a test flight when it developed problems, NASA says.

Joint testing of the X-31 by NASA, the US Air Force and Navy and the German defence ministry is drawing to a close. The US Department of Defense having refused to fund a follow-on programme.

 

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