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North American X-10

The North American X-10 was an unmanned technology demonstrator developed by North American Aviation.

It was a subscale reusable design that included many of the design features of the SM-64 Navaho missile.

13 were built and the sole survivor is at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.

To facilitate development of the long-range Navaho surface-to-surface cruise missile, North American Aviation (NAA) developed the RTV-A-5 (Research Test Vehicle, Air Force), or X-10 in 1951.

This vehicle was to prove critical flight technology for the design of the Navaho cruise missile.

These included proving the basic aerodynamics to Mach 2, flight testing the inertial guidance unit and flight control avionics to the same speed and validate the recovery system for the next phase in the Navaho program.

Preliminary design of the X-10 was completed in February 1951 and the first vehicle was delivered to Edwards Air Force Base in May 1953.

The first flight occurred on 14 October 1953.

The X-10 was powered by two Westinghouse J40 turbojet engines with afterburners and equipped with landing gear for conventional take-off and landing.

The combination of a delta wing with an all-moving canard gave it extremely good aerodynamics in the transonic and supersonic environments.

It also made the vehicle unstable requiring active computer flight control in the form of an autopilot.

Thus, the X-10 is similar to modern military fighters which are flown by the onboard computer and not directly by the pilot.

Though the X-10 was receiving directional commands from a radio-command guidance system, these commands were sent through the on-board computer which implemented the commands.

Later X-10s included an N-6 inertial navigation system which completely controlled the vehicle through the cruise portion of the flight.





77 ft (23 m)


28 ft 2 in (8.59 m)


14 ft 5 in (4.39 m)

Wing area

425 sq ft (39.5 m2)


NACA 66-006 (mod)

Empty weight

25,800 lb (11,703 kg)

Gross weight

35,000 lb (15,876 kg)

Max take-off weight

42,300 lb (19,187 kg)


2 × Westinghouse XJ40-WE-1 turbojets,

10,900 lbf (48 kN) thrust each


Maximum speed

1,300 mph (2,100 km/h, 1,100 kn)

Service ceiling

45,000 ft (14,000 m)

Rate of climb

5,224 ft/min (26.54 m/s).



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