Scaled Composites announced the first flight of the Model 401, an experimental, single-engine jet the company is developing for an unidentified customer to demonstrate low-cost manufacturing techniques. The Northrop Grumman subsidiary said it has built two air vehicles, which it will make available to industry partners and the U.S. government for research flights.
A photograph accompanying the company’s October 11 announcement shows a swept-wing design with twin canted tails and engine mounted above the fuselage. The jet has a 38-foot wingspan and is 38 feet long, Scaled Composites said. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney JTD-15D-5D engine producing 3,045 pounds of thrust.
The Model 401 is capable of flying at Mach 0.6, with a service ceiling of 30,000 feet. It has an empty weight of 4,000 pounds, maximum takeoff weight of 8,000 pounds and up to three hours’ endurance.
Mojave, California-based Scaled Composites did not specify the date of the first flight, which started the flight-test phase of the first air vehicle. The company plans to continue envelope expansion tests with the first vehicle, leading to the first flight of the second Model 401 vehicle.
Scaled Composites had earlier developed a new-design jet designated the Model 400, which was thought to be targeted for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X advanced trainer competition. That jet was powered by a single General Electric F404-GE-102D engine. Earlier this year, parent company Northrop Grumman and its principal partner, BAE Systems, said they would not submit a proposal for the T-X requirement.