U.S. Navy Launches First Unmanned X-47B Aircraft from Carrier Flight Deck
May 15, 2013 12:13 PM
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While X-47B is for non-operational use, its precision navigation algorithms will be used to create the first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft
The United States Navy launched an unmanned aircraft from a modern carrier flight deck for the first time ever Tuesday.
The unmanned aircraft was the
X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator
, and its first-ever launch from a modern aircraft carrier represents how manned and unmanned aircraft on carrier flight decks will be merged in the future.
A mission operator aboard the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) controlled X-47B, showing off how well it works within a carrier environment. It landed back at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.
"This historic event challenges the paradigm of manned carrier landings that were first conducted more than 90 years ago," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter. "In that challenge though, comes a respect and admiration for all those naval aviators – past and present – that have ensured the value of the Navy aircraft carrier/carrier air wing team.
"The addition of unmanned aviation to this formidable, power projection team provides a complementary capability, which will ensure carrier naval aviation remains viable and relevant for decades to come. It also shows our collective readiness within naval aviation to embrace these future opportunities to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation.
"This is a big deal!"
While X-47B is for non-operational use, its precision navigation algorithms will be used to create the first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft.
That future aircraft is expected to feature "24/7 carrier-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting capability" which will operate with manned aviation assets.
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RE: OF Course
5/15/2013 2:43:37 PM
It's really not difficult to take off from a carrier.
Landing a carrier? Now that's a whole another story.
RE: OF Course
5/16/2013 7:53:14 AM
It's practically a sling shot. And yet, a first step someone had to make and ensure it works as expected.
RE: OF Course
5/16/2013 6:07:35 PM
Actually, I'd be much more interested in seeing how it maneuvers around a crowded flight deck. There wasn't another plane on the deck, and you notice they edited out how long it took to maneuver to the catapult. Heck, they didn't even put up the JBDs.
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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