Wednesday, August 7, 2013

X-47B retirement delayed to 2014

The U.S. Navy hopes to continue flying its two Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrators into 2014. The service had earlier said that the prototypes would be retired after the type had demonstrated the ability to make carrier arrested recoveries onboard the USS George H.W. Bush, accomplished July 10. The two X-47Bs will stay at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., while the program continues to assess potential opportunities for additional tests at Pax River and at-sea, according to the Naval Air Systems Command. Analyst Mackenzie Eaglen of the American Enterprise Institute said many critics had charged that the Navy was prematurely retiring the two testbeds. (Source: Flightglobal, 08/06/13) Gulf Coast note: Northrop Grumman Fire Scout and Global Hawk unmanned aerial systems are built in part in Moss Point, Miss.; the Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., eventually will get one of the X-47Bs to put on display. Previous: Drone catapults from carrier; Drone lands on carrier