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X-47B in Flight  (Source: Northrop)

X-47 from Below  (Source: Northrop)
The flight is part of expanded envelope for the program

The military is using robots for bomb discovery/disposal and for carrying equipment for forces in the field. The military is also moving to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to help patrol skies and keep human soldiers safe from unnecessary risks.
 
The last new UAV we talked about for the Navy was back in December of 2010 when the X-47B demonstrator first appeared. That unmanned X-47B demonstrator has hit a new milestone that is very important. The demonstrator has made its first flight with its landing gear retracted in cruise configuration.
 
During the flight, which took place from Edwards Air Force Base, the precision navigation hardware and software was validated. This is the software and hardware that will allow the fighter to land on the deck of a moving ship.

"Last week's flight gave us our first clean look at the aerodynamic cruise performance of the X-47B air system…and it is proving out all of our predictions," said Janis Pamiljans, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Reaching this critical test point demonstrates the growing maturity of the air system, and its readiness to move to the next phase of flight testing."

The flight was part of the expanded envelop of the first two X-47B aircraft that were built by Northrop Grumman for the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration program. The X-47B is set to start carrier testing in 2012.
 
The design of the X-47B allows for attack missions with low observability, and the aircraft uses no tail, looking like a combination of the F-117 Nighthawk and the B-2 Spirit.

Source: Northrop Grumman



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RE: Not a B2.
By bug77 on 10/11/2011 4:49:59 PM , Rating: 2
From Wikipedia:

"In recent years it has become commonplace to describe this design as the first aircraft to incorporate what is now known as stealth technology, but this is not the case, since the primary aim of the Horten brothers was to create an aeroplane that eliminated as much parasitic drag as possible, thus employing a shallow flying wing design. This relied heavily on experience gained with tailless gliders tested since the mid-1930's. However, there was an intention to introduce anti-radar measures that were not part of the initial design."

Hell, Germans didn't even know much about radar at the time. Which is why they lost the battle of Britain.


RE: Not a B2.
By xpax on 10/12/2011 1:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
Watch the National Geographic documentary about Ho 229. They built scale models and found that it did eliminate a large portion of the radar cross section of the craft. Northrop Grumman engineers spent significant time in 1982 analyzing the captured 229 prototype before they began designing the B2.

If the 229 had been deployed in numbers it would've been the beginning of the end for Britain.


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