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

2011-02-15

Northrop Grumman's X-47B (UCAS-D) successfully took off
It seems, despite some difficulties in the Marine Unmanned Systems development process, that the Northrop Grumman X-47B project along with similar programs developed by Boeing and General Atomics is supposed to become one of the pioneers in UCAS flights off the aircraft carriers.

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 navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design. The aircraft will remain at Edwards Air Force Base for flight envelope expansion before moving to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., later this year. There, the system will undergo additional tests to validate its readiness to begin testing in the maritime and carrier environment, planned for 2013. A US Navy strategy to install a stealthy unmanned aircraft system (UAS) aboard aircraft carriers fulfills in 2018.

As a combat fighter, X-47B is developed obtaining stealth capabilities, active electronic countermeasure, being able to carry either cruise missiles or guided bombs. Noteworthy that UCAS in the future can be equipped with the autonomous aerial refueling system. Though proving the viability of the once unthinkable concept of autonomous combat air operations from the carrier, UCAS is also a critical technology stepping-stone to the Navys planned Unmanned Carrier-Launched Surveillance Systems (Uclass) program.

Industry players have until early May to respond to a U.S. Navy request for information (RFI) for a carrier-based, stealthy, unmanned, strike and surveillance system capable of integrating with manned aircraft as part of a carrier air wing by 2018. The unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (Uclass) RFI calls for a notional system made up of 4-6 autonomously launched and recoverable vehicles to operate in irregular and hybrid warfare scenarios.  The system must be able to operate from CVN-68 and -78-class carriers, and be capable of being directed from both carrier- and shore-based mission control stations. The stealthy UAV must be able to receive fuel from hose-and-drogue Navy-style tankers as well as from probe-equipped U.S. Air Force tankers. Despite the air-to-air refueling option, the Uclass unrefueled mission endurance will be at least 11-14 hr., with inclusion of an appropriate reserve fuel quantity. The aircraft should also be capable of using lethal precision weapons to suppress, defeat, destroy, deceive or influence a range of enemy targets, and will likely be configured with folding wings and tie-down points. The RFI also holds the door open for other fixed-wing configurations, but essentially paints a picture of something closely resembling potentially larger versions of the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator, or the recently unveiled Boeing Phantom Ray or General Atomics Avenger.

The US Navy did not commit to practical UCAV efforts until mid-2000, when the service awarded contracts of US $2 million each to Boeing and Northrop Grumman for a 15-month concept-exploration program. Design considerations for a naval UCAV included dealing with the corrosive salt-water environment, deck handling for launch and recovery, integration with command and control systems, and operation in a carrier's high electromagnetic interference environment. The Navy was also interested in using their UCAVs for reconnaissance missions, penetrating protected airspace to identify targets for the attack waves. The J-UCAS program was terminated in February 2006 following the US military's Quadrennial Defense Review. The US Air Force and US Navy proceeded with their own UAV programs. The Navy selected Northrop Grumman's X-47B as its unmanned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D) program.

If Northrop and the Navy can prove the X-47 works over the planned, three-year demonstration program, combat-ready X-47s could begin flying off carrier decks before the end of the decade. The benefits are clear. With far greater range than the Navys existing F/A-18 strike fighters, the X-47 would allow Navy carrier groups to sail farther from shore when launching air strikes, helping protect the priceless vessels from the increasingly dangerous anti-ship missiles being fielded by nations such as China. The X-47 would also be able to sneak through the defensive umbrella of todays Triple-Digit anti-aircraft missiles.
Were celebrating the centennial of Naval aviation, and if we fast-forward 100 years, then weve added three wordsunmanned, autonomous and LO [low-observable] relevant, says Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Navys Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) project director.

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



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2014-02-25
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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...

Navy's twin stealth drone takes flight

2011-11-29
Navy's twin stealth drone takes flight

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.

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.


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