The X-32B (STOVL variant) was one of two Concept Demonstration Aircraft (CDA) designed and manufactured by Boeing, as a part of the competition to develop the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) for the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as many international partners. The JSF, designated the F-35, will replace the USAF F-16, compliment the USN F/A-18 and replace the USMC F/A-18 and AV-8B aircraft.

This X-32B aircraft flew its first flight at the Boeing facility in Palmdale, CA on 29 March 2001. After completing initial Flight Testing at Edwards AFB, CA, the X-32B flew across the United States and arrived at Patuxent River on 11 May 2001. The flight demonstration for the X-32B at Patuxent River was extremely successful, with evaluation emphasis on low speed performance and handling qualities in the semi-jetborne flight environment, hover mode, vertical landing, and Short Take-Off and Landing performance. The X-32B Flight Test Demonstration program was completed on 28 July 2001, after 78 test missions and 43 flight hours, at which time the aircraft was retired. The X-32B was powered by a single Pratt and Whitney F-119 turbofan engine with 90 deg Direct Lift thrust vectoring. A sister ship to the X-32B is the X-32A, which demonstrated key Flying Qualities and Performance aspects unique to the Air Force and Navy missions. Although the X-32 design was not selected for the production JSF airplane, the X-32B completed a safe and extremely successful flight test program, making for an exciting culmination to the JSF Concept Demonstration Phase. Government test pilots that flew this aircraft were MAJ. Jeff Pig Pen Karnes, USMC and LCDR. Paul Stony Stone, UK RN. CDR. Phil Rowdy Yates, USN, was the Pax River Navy test pilot for the X-32A. The Pax River flight test engineering team included Mr. Bob Sowa, Mr. Tom Reider and Mr. Scott Donelson.

Our display aircraft, the X-32B, was accepted by the museum in March 2005 and was presented by the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office. This aircraft is maintained by the personnel of the VX-23 Test Squadron. The X-32 flight test program was featured in the highly acclaimed PBS documentary, the Battle of the X-Planes.

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