Tuesday, April 9, 2013

X-47B catapult launch planned

The Navy plans to conduct the first catapult takeoff of its X-47B unmanned fighter from an aircraft carrier next month and other shipboard tests despite mandatory budget cuts this year. Rear Adm. Mathias Winter, program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons, said Northrop Grumman's X-47B program and other unmanned aircraft programs should survive the fiscal 2013 budget cuts largely intact because they are still early in development. But the Navy may buy fewer unmanned planes and helicopters in coming years unless Congress reverses budget cuts required over the next decade, Winter said in a recent interview at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in southern Maryland. He also talked about the Triton UAV, the Navy's variant of the Global Hawk, which is expected to have its first flight in May. (Source: Reuters, 04/08/13) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman does some of the work on Fire Scout and Global Hawk unmanned systems in Moss Point, Miss. Previous X-47B, previous Triton