Navy's twin stealth drone takes flight

2011-11-29

Navy's twin stealth drone takes flight

The availability of two X-47B unmanned aircraft enables the UCAS-D program to conduct a faster and more productive flight test program.

Two is better than one, especially when it comes to flight testing a stealth drone designed to take off and land from moving aircraft carriers at sea. The U.S. Navy announced today it has reached that milestone in its X-47B program.

The second tail-less unmanned aircraft — named Air Vehicle 2 took to the skies from Edwards Air Force Base in California on Nov. 22 and flew a few racetrack patterns over Rogers Dry Lake at an altitude of 5,000 feet, said Northup Grumman, who is building the plane, in a news release.

The first flight of the original X-47B took place in February. That aircraft successfully retracted its landing gear and flew in cruise configuration in September, allowing photographers to snap images that make the plane look like a UFO from a 1950s cartoon.

Having a second plane will allow for the collection of more performance data and keep the program on development schedule, the aerospace company said.

The second X-47B demonstrator aircraft for the Navy's UCAS-D program completed its first flight on Nov. 22 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

The computer-controlled unmanned aircraft takes off and flies a pre-programmed mission and then returns to base in response to mouse clicks from a mission operator. The operator monitors the flight, but doesn't actively control it remotely, as for other drones.

One of the twin aircraft will transition to the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., by the end of 2011, to begin testing of precision carrier approaches, arresting landings and "roll-out" catapult landings, according to the release.

The tests will also include testing of recently installed guidance, navigation and control software that will enable the aircraft to land on a moving carrier deck, considered among the harshest aviation environments.

The second craft will remain in California to continue envelop expansion flights, which are used to demonstrate the aircraft performance under a range of range, speed, and fuel-load conditions.

The first carrier launches are planned for 2013 and autonomous refueling demonstrations are slated for 2014.

By John Roach


Region:  USA and Canada
Contry:  USA
Category:  UAV
Company:  Northrop Grumman



USA Northrop Grumman UAV
Name:  X-47B UCAS   Region:  USA and Canada    Country:  USA    Category:  UAV    Company:  Northrop Grumman   
X-47B UCAS

Use(s): the Navy UCAS demonstration programme consists of two X-47B aircraft that will demonstrate autonomous launches and recoveries from an aircraft carrier in 2011 Manufacturer: Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Weight: max payload: 4,500lb, 2,041kg Performance: ceiling: >40,000ft, mission radius: >1,500+nm Payload: potential payloads include EO, IR, SAR, ISAR, GMTI, MMTI, ESM Launch: catapult Recovery: conventional wheeled Structure Material: composite Status: in flight test Overall Length: 11.6m (38.2ft) Wingspan: 18.9m (62.1ft) Height: 3.2m (10.4ft) Aircraft Carrier Takeoff Gross Weight: 20,412kg (44,500lb) Speed: High subsonic Power Plant: Pratt & Whitney F100-220U



Australia should boost stocks in drone aircraft, military lobby group says

2014-02-25
Australia should boost stocks in drone aircraft, military lobby group says

AN influential air power lobby group wants Australia to acquire long-range unmanned combat aircraft that can fire precision missiles against targets without risk to pilots.

First images of X-47B on the USS Harry S. Truman released

2012-12-11
First images of X-47B on the USS Harry S. Truman released
Only one thing to add to this, wow! Just look at the size of the thing. With nobody to keep alive on board it must have quite an endurance. The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator taxies on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Harry S. Truman is the first aircraft...

Unmanned Combat Air System Test Aircraft Reaches Major Milestone

2011-10-11
Unmanned Combat Air System Test Aircraft Reaches Major Milestone
The U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration aircraft reached a major milestone Sept. 30 when it retracted its landing gear and flew in its cruise configuration for the first time.

Northrop Grumman's X-47B (UCAS-D) successfully took off

2011-02-15
Northrop Grumman's X-47B (UCAS-D) successfully took off
4 Feb. 2010, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. Northrop Grumman's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) successfully took off climbing up to 1500m. high, being airborne about half an hour. The flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and...


Back to the list