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HiMAT (Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology)

HiMAT (Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology)

HiMAT (Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology)

The HiMAT (Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology) was an unmanned research aircraft flown by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California from 1979 to 1983.

HiMAT was used to help develop advanced technologies and systems used in many modern high performance aircraft.

Two examples of HiMAT were used in the research program conducted jointly by NASA and the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The two aircraft, flown a total of 26 times, provided data on the use of composites, aeroelastic tailoring, close-coupled canards and winglets, and investigated the interaction of these then-new technologies upon each other.

About one-half the size of a standard manned fighter jet and powered by a General Electric J85-21 jet engine, the HiMAT aircraft were launched from NASA's B-52 carrier aircraft at an altitude of about 45,000 feet. They were flown remotely by a NASA research pilot from a ground station with the aid of a television camera mounted in the HiMAT cockpits.

Technologies tested on the HiMAT vehicles appearing later on other aircraft include the extensive use of composites common now on military and commercial aircraft; rear-mounted wing and forward canard configuration used very successfully on the X-29 research aircraft flown at Dryden; and winglets, now used on many private and commercial aircraft to lessen wingtip drag and enhance fuel savings. The supersonic research vehicles were 21.1 feet long, 15.2 feet wide, and had a top speed of Mach 1.4.

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