PATUXENT RIVER, Md. -- The Navy conducted its first test of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator. The tailless, unmanned aircraft built by Northrop Grumman launched from Pax River and flew for 35 minutes, reaching an altitude of 7,500 feet and an air speed of 180 knots. One of the testing facilities at Pax River is a simulated aircraft carrier environment, which will allow team members to ensure the aircraft is ready to operate in testing at sea. Land-based testing will establish X-47B has the ability to conduct precision approaches and to perform arrested landings and catapult launches prior to actual aircraft carrier operations. (Source: NNS, 07/29/12) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman does some of the work on Fire Scout and Global Hawk unmanned systems in Moss Point, Miss.