Aviation Humor

The X-32 was nicknamed ‘Monica.’ Why? Because she’s got a big mouth, she’s ugly and…she s***s. Like a certain White House intern who was famous for her oratory skills.

The X-32 earned the nickname “Monica” after a certain White House intern who was famous for her… Uh… Oratory skills.

The Boeing X-32 was a multi-purpose jet fighter in the Joint Strike Fighter contest. It lost to the Lockheed Martin X-35 demonstrator, which was further developed into the F-35 Lightning II. Boeing assembled two concept demonstration aircraft, X-32A and X-32B, at its plant in Palmdale, Calif.

On Sep. 18, 2000 the X-32A made its first flight, and it made a total of 66 flights during four months of testing. The flights demonstrated the aircraft’s handling qualities for inflight refueling, weapons bay operations and supersonic flight.

The X-32B aircraft made its first flight on March 29, 2001. It made 78 test flights in four months, including a transcontinental ferry flight from Edwards Air Force Base to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The aircraft successfully transitioned to and from STOVL flight mode by using its direct-lift system to redirect thrust from the aircraft’s cruise nozzle to the lift nozzles. The X-32B also demonstrated its ability to hover and make vertical landings.

The X-32 earned the nickname “Monica” after a certain White House intern who was famous for her… Uh… Oratory skills, as Cameron Beck, a private pilot, explains on Quora.

The Boeing X-32, left, and the Lockheed X-35 competed for the DoD contract to produce the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) in 1997. Both companies received $750 million grants to build prototypes. The new single-engine, Mach-1 capable aircraft needed to be stealthy and provide robust situational awareness to the pilot during attacks on ground targets and when fighting in air-to-air engagements. It also needed to meet the specifications of the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps as well as nation partners. Lockheed won the competition which would eventually produce the F-35 Lightning II.

‘There’s an old adage in the world of business: s*x sells. Never truer than in the fighter jet business.

‘In 1993, the Pentagon established a massive $200 Billion winner-take-all Joint Strike Fighter competition. Two candidates, Boeing’s X-32 and Lockheed Martin’s X-35 went nose-to-nose.

‘I looked at them. Without knowing anything about them, I knew, I knew the Lockheed would win. Hands down. End of discussion.

‘Why so certain? Well, look at them. The Lockheed is sleek and sexy in its graphite paint scheme, its come-hither canopy and raked tails. It’s a fighter jock’s dream! The X-32 is anything but—forgive me, Boeing.’

Beck continues;

‘Strangely, the drooling jocks didn’t name the Lockheed plane and pilots love to name their craft. Examples: the unlovely Fairchild Republic A-10 is lovingly called Warthog, or simply Hawg. The Boeing B-52 is the BUFF: Big Ugly Fat F****r—oops! I meant “Fellah.”

The Boeing Joint Strike Fighter X-32B demonstrator lifts off on its maiden flight from the company’s facility in Palmdale, Calif.

‘(A pilot wouldn’t be caught dead uttering a warplane’s official name: A-10 Thunderbolt II, B-52 Stratofortress)

‘The jocks did name Boeing’s X-32 and it wasn’t a nice name like Hawg. The test pilots called her…Monica. I tell you, that name was her death knell.

‘Why Monica? A jock would happily tell you with a wink and snicker: she’s got a big mouth, she’s ugly and… she s***s. Scratching your head? Remember Bill C*****n’s presidency? Yeah? Good. That Monica. Aha!

‘Now, if you’re still scratching at my stupid hinting, please Google up “Monica C*****n.” There’s your answer. And dear reader, I’m not being coy; we’re talking airplane s*******y here, not human. We’re not going there.’

Beck concludes;

‘Cool Cat won, of course. (pilots had begun calling her Panther).

This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35A Lightning II 56th OG, 61st FS, LF/12-5050 / 2014

‘She’s now the most expensive Pentagon program in history: $1 Trillion.

‘Sure, Monica would have been way cheaper—Boeing had emphasized cost control—but trust me, there would have been a pilot mutiny if Air Force brass had embraced the Vomiting Frog over Panther.’

However, although not selected for full-scale development of the JSF, Boeing viewed its involvement in the competition as a strategic investment. The program yielded many advances in stealth technology and design and manufacturing methods. These achievements have been applied to other Boeing programs including the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the X-45A Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle, or UCAV.

In 2005, the Boeing X-32A was transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio. Its condition deteriorated due to being outside for several years following the end of the JSF competition, but it is now indoors and planned to be restored.

The X-32B was transferred to the Patuxent River Naval Air Museum adjacent to NAS Patuxent River in St. Mary’s County, Maryland in 2005. It underwent restoration at the museum’s restoration facility in June 2009 and is now on display.

The Boeing X-32A in a storage building at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force on Nov. 20, 2016.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force, Boeing and Balon Greyjoy via Wikipedia

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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