The Boeing Model 853 Quiet Bird was a US Army scout plane study developed by Boeing in the early 1960s.
Boeing model 853 Quit Bird
The model of Quiet Bird was said to have been tested at Boeing’s Wichita facility in 1962-1963, all of which occurred on a radar range. No actual flight testing of Quiet Bird itself was said to have happened, though. But the tests were highly successful: they proved that it was possible to drastically decrease the radar signature of a tactical aircraft.
Still, the concept was not just designed as a shape to test radar reflectivity. Boeing had full plans to develop it into an actual aircraft. Unfortunately for them, the design ended up being too ahead of its time. Even to be adapted as a forward penetrating observation or attack aircraft, and believe it or not, the military had little interest in it.
This actually makes some sense. At the time, raw performance and increasingly advanced avionics that could allow for either all-weather high-level or low-level penetration of enemy airspace were all the rage. (See also the SR-71, U-2, A-6, and F-111). As it was, this jet wouldn’t have been much of a performer, but it very well could have been invisible to enemy sensors, and with that, who needs performance?
It would not be until about a decade later that the Pentagon would begin considering aircraft designs with low-observable technology as their primary feature set, later dubbed stealth, as a silver-bullet technology worth pursuing with fervor.
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The concept dates back to the early 1960s, with a one-half scale model of the aircraft being built sometime between 1962 and 1963. The aircraft was an exercise in utilizing specific materials and shapes to drastically reduce the radar cross-section of a tactical aircraft.
From this pioneering design, five Boeing “stealth” patents were awarded, and they only appear to have shown up in public records in the early 1990s, decades after they were officially filed.
Boeing Quit Bird
When looking at Quiet Bird, especially in these new images and schematics released to us from Boeing, it is amazing how many stealth features that are used in modern day low-observable aircraft designs existed on this 50-year-old concept. The aircraft’s chine-line that separates its smooth, shallowly curved bottom and trapezoid shaped fuselage are key tenets of stealth designs to this very day.
Role US Army observation study
Number built 1/2 scale mockup produced
Length: 33 ft (10.06 m)
Wingspan: 33.65 ft (10.26 m)
Height: 7.7 ft ()
Empty weight: 6000 lb (2721 kg) / Loaded weight: 8150 lb (3696 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × General Electric CF700 , 4,200 lbf (18.7 kN)
Cruise speed: 0.7 mach
Stall speed: 80 kn ()
Range: 1160 nmi ()
Service ceiling: 47,000 ft ()
Rate of climb: 3,050 ft/min ()
Model 853 Quit Bird Stealth
When looking at Quiet Bird, especially in these new images and schematics released to us from Boeing, it is amazing how many stealth features that are used in modern day low-observable aircraft designs existed on this 50-year-old concept.