Boeing‘s [BA] Aurora Flight Sciences plans to fly an Active Flow Control (AFC) demonstrator in 2025 under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Control of Revolutionary Aircraft with Novel Effectors (CRANE) program.

Boeing, Lockheed Martin [LMT], and

BAE Systems have participated in CRANE. This week, DARPA picked Aurora to move into the detailed design phase of the program.

“This follows successful completion of the project’s Phase 1 preliminary design, which resulted in an innovative testbed aircraft that used AFC to generate control forces in a wind tunnel test,” DARPA said. “Phase 2 will focus on detailed design and development of flight software and controls, culminating in a critical design review of an X-plane demonstrator that can fly without traditional moving flight controls on the exterior of the wings and tail.”

AFC is to reduce an aircraft’s number of moving parts and maintenance costs, while increasing a plane’s stealth and performance. While the U.S. Air Force and Navy have kept their designs for Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) manned and unmanned fighters under wraps, AFC may play a prominent role in one or both services’ NGAD requirements.

DARPA said that its AFC demonstrator contract with Aurora “includes a Phase 3 option in which DARPA intends to fly a 7,000-pound X-plane that addresses the two primary technical hurdles of incorporation of AFC into a full-scale aircraft and reliance on it for controlled flight.”

“Unique features of the demonstrator aircraft will include modular wing configurations that enable future integration of advanced technologies for flight testing either by DARPA or potential transition partners,” the agency said.

DARPA said that AFC “enables multiple opportunities for aircraft performance improvements, such as elimination of moving control surfaces, drag reduction and high angle of attack flight, thicker wings for structural efficiency and increased fuel capacity, and simplified high-lift systems.”

Aurora said that it has begun the detailed engineering design of the company’s full-scale, 30 foot wingspan, 7,000 pound gross weight demonstrator. If DARPA exercises the Phase 3 option of CRANE, Aurora said that it would build the AFC X-plane at plants in Virginia, West Virginia, and Mississippi.

“The vehicle would be used for AFC validation and demonstration at relevant scale and flight conditions, including flight speeds up to Mach 0.7,” the company said.

Graham Drozeski, Aurora’s vice president of government programs, said in a statement that “the CRANE X-plane is designed specifically to explore the effectiveness of AFC technologies at mission relevant scale and Mach numbers.”