Northrop MX-324 (Unicraft, Resin)

TYPE: Experimental rocket-powered flying-wing aircraft

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only, in prone position

POWER PLANT: One Aerojet XCARL-2000A-1 rocket engine, rated at 920 kp thrust


COMMENT: In 1942, Northrop Company was working an ambitious design for a rocked driven flying wing fighter aircraft under the designation Northrop XP-79. To test the radical design, rocket-powered glider prototypes were built under the designation MX-324. Positioned on a trolley the first aircraft was towed into the air on 5 July 1944 by a Lockheed P-38 Lightning. Once released towline the rocket engine was ignited for three minutes, making the Northrop MX-324 the first US-built rocket-powered aircraft. After successful flight the aircraft landed on skids. In late 1944 the MX-324 was retrofit with a tricycle landing gear enabling take-off and landing on runways. Results from flight tests were incorporated in the final aircraft, the Northrop XP-79B (Ref.: 23)