[The Boeing X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle is a concept demonstrator for a next generation of completely autonomous military aircraft, developed by Boeing's Phantom Works. Manufactured by Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, the X-45 was a part of DARPA's J-UCAS project.
Boeing built two of the model X-45A; both were scaled-down proof-of-concept aircraft. The first was completed by Boeing's Phantom Works in September 2000. The goal of the X-45A technology demonstrator program was to develop the technologies needed to [conduct suppression of enemy air defense missions with unmanned combat air vehicles]. The first generation of unmanned combat air vehicles are primarily planned for air-to-ground roles with defensive air-to-air capabilities coupled with significant remote piloting.
The X-45A had its first flight on May 22, 2002, and the second vehicle followed in November of that year. On April 18, 2004, the X-45A's first bombing run test at Edwards Air Force Base was successful; it hit a ground target with a 250-pound inert precision-guided munition. On August 1, 2004, for the first time, two X-45As were controlled in flight simultaneously by one ground controller.
On February 4, 2005, on their 50th flight, the two X-45As took off into a patrol pattern and were then alerted to the presence of a target. The X-45As then autonomously determined which vehicle held the optimum position, weapons (notional), and fuel load to properly attack the target. After making that decision, one of the X-45As changed course and the pilot-operator allowed it to attack the simulated antiaircraft emplacement. Following a successful strike, another simulated threat, this time disguised, emerged and was subsequently destroyed by the second X-45A. This demonstrated the ability of these vehicles to work autonomously as a team and manage their resources, as well as to engage previously-undetected targets, which is significantly harder than following a predetermined attack path]. – Wikipedia
Two X-45A Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAV) are shown to members of the news media July 11, 2002 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. The X-45A, developed by The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Boeing Company, is the first unmanned system designed from inception for combat missions. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
A Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems X-45A test drops a GPS-guided munition over China Lake Warfare Center Weapons Division Range, China Lake near Ridgecrest, California, in this undated photo. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
An F-18 flies chase for a Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems X-45A during a test drop of a GPS-guided munition over China Lake Warfare Center Weapons Division Range, China Lake near Ridgecrest, California, in this undated photo. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)