Rockwell HiMAT RPRV Documentation

The Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology (HiMAT) program was established by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards AFB, CA and the USAF Flight Dynamics Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH to decrease the time needed to flight test advanced design technology by providing a low-cost, low-risk test bed vehicle. Following control technical development in 1975, NASA awarded a contract to Rockwell International for two HiMAT Remotely-Piloted Research Vehicles (RPRV). The Rockwell HiMAT consisted of a basic core vehicle containing the power plant, control, and telemetry systems and modular main wings, canard and tail surfaces, and engine intake and afterburner/exhaust structures to allow flight testing of alternate designs. The first of the HiMATs was delivered to NASA in March 1978 and the second in June, with the first free flight occurring in July 1979. The Rockwell HiMAT was controlled by a ground-based pilot through television, radar, and telemetry links to the vehicle with backup systems on chase aircraft and a self-righting system on the RPRV in the event of ground control loss. One HiMAT was donated to the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and placed on display in May 1989.