|Item: The Blackbird
The Blackbird (officially the Blackbird II, and informally referred to by some as the X-Wing) is a flying-wing style supersonic jet transport used by the X-Men for missions ranging from combat to search-and-rescue missions.
- Crew: Generally 2 (pilot and co-pilot), but in its simplest modes, the jet can be piloted by a single individual.
- Passengers: Up to 24 including crew, seated in two rows of folding "jump seats".
- Length: 66 feet
- Wingspan: 90 feet (50 feet with wings folded)
- Height: 17 feet (21 feet with landing gear extended)
- Maximum Speed: Close to Mach 3.25
- Range: Approximately 6,000 miles
- Stealth capability: Due to a radar-diffusive skin and variable camouflage paint scheme, the Blackbird II can be made nearly invisible to most forms of conventional mechanical detection. It is also designed to operate nearly silently while flying at subsonic speeds.
- VTOL capability: The Blackbird II can use a vectored-thrust Vertical Takeoff and Landing system, although due to the flying wing shape, is not designed to hover for extended periods of time.
- Rapid Deployment System: The rear loading ramp of the Blackbird II can be lowered like a standard tailgate or retract like standard "bomb bay" doors for various deployment procedures.
- Mission-specific equipment: The Blackbird II is equipped with internal and external "softpoints" for carrying specific gear such as extended-use fuel tanks, remote scanning packages, and various other limited-use items.
- Variable Flight Profile: When grounded, the wings of the Blackbird II can fold along their lengthwise axis to reduce the wingspan. While the jet cannot fly with the wings partially retracted, limited VTOL capacity is retained for maneuverability.
Piloting the Blackbird II
The control scheme of the Blackbird II is similar to that of the original Blackbird, requiring only a minor refamiliarization for pilots. In addition, the jet has been outfitted with a completely manual flight control option, allowing for control to be retained in the event of computer failure.
The Original Blackbird
The first Blackbird (also called the X-Jet on occasion) was a heavily modified SR-71 Blackbird used by the X-Men. Capable of high-altitude supersonic flight, the first Blackbird was even modified on one occasion to achieve low earth orbit to launch an orbital glider, as well as withstand the stress of re-entry.