X-47B and F/A-18 launch from CVN 71 U.S. Navy photo
USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, At Sea -- The Navy's unmanned X-47B returned to carrier operations aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Aug. 17 and completed a series of tests, operating safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft. Building on lessons learned from its first test period aboard TR in November 2013, the X-47B team is now focused on perfecting deck operations and performing maneuvers with manned aircraft in the flight pattern. The first series of manned/unmanned operations began when the ship launched an F/A-18 and an X-47B. After an eight-minute flight, the X-47B executed an arrested landing, folded its wings and taxied out of the landing area. The deck-based operator used newly developed deck handling control to manually move the aircraft out of the way of other aircraft, allowing the F/A-18 to touch down close behind the X-47B's recovery. (Source: NNS, 08/17/14) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of two other UAVs, Global Hawk and Fire Scout, in Moss Point, Miss.; naval aviators begin initial training in Northwest Florida.