Tuesday, December 18, 2012

X-47B completes at-sea tests

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, at sea -- The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first at-sea test phase aboard the nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Dec. 18. The first aircraft of its kind aboard a Navy vessel, the Northrop Grumman-built X-47B was put through myriad trials to assess the viability of an unmanned system's operation aboard a carrier. Among the tests, the X-47B was towed using carrier-based tractors, taxied on the flight deck via its arm-mounted control display unit and had its digital engine controls tested within environments pervaded by electromagnetic fields. "The system has performed outstandingly," said Don Blottenberger, program manager for the N-UCAS Program Office. "We validated our capabilities on an aircraft carrier," said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman's program director. (Source: NNS, 12/18/12) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman builds portions of the Global Hawk and Fire Scout UAVs in Moss Point, Miss.