Wednesday, April 17, 2013

X-47B aerial refuel demo axed

Plans to demonstrate autonomous aerial refueling of the Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D) have been axed from the Navy’s fiscal 2014 budget. The X-47B was to have conducted Navy probe-and-drogue and Air Force boom-and-receptacle refueling tests in 2014. Refueling tests were to follow the main demonstration of unmanned aircraft-carrier operations planned for next month. The two X-47Bs at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., are completing land-based carrier qualification. It's the second UAV refueling project to be cut. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency ended a program to demonstrate refueling between two Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawks. (Source: Aviation Week, 04/15/13) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman Fire Scout and Global Hawk UAV variants are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.