Thursday, June 14, 2012

X-47B finishes first test series

X-47B at Edwards. Northrop Grumman photo
The first major phase of flight tests of the Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator aircraft concluded May 15 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The airworthiness test phase included 23 flights by two air vehicles and showed the X-47B performed properly at all speeds, weights and altitudes needed for the Navy's UCAS Carrier Demonstration program. Flights of the tailless, pilotless plane included tests of maneuvers required in the carrier environment. The aircraft reached altitudes exceeding 15,000 feet and maneuvers included extending and retracting a tail hook and completing an autonomous touch-and-go landing. The second of the two X-47Bs was moved to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., where carrier suitability testing will begin later this summer. (Source: Globe Newswire, 06/14/12) Gulf Coast note: The Gulf Coast region is heavily involved in military aviator training.