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Artist rendering of the X-47B in combat  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  (Source: Northrop Grumman)

  (Source: Northrop Grumman)
Northtrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy will fly the X-47B in late 2009

The U.S. military is furthering its funding of unmanned vehicles for combat. Just last week, DailyTech reported on the U.S. Army's new SWORDS unmanned robots which roam the Iraqi battlefield carrying M249 machines guns -- and in turn put human soldiers out of harm's way. The military's latest unmanned project leaves the desert behind in order to take to the skies.

The U.S. Navy on Friday awarded Northrop Grumman a six-year, $635.8 million USD contract to further develop the X-47B fixed-wing unmanned air system (UAS). The funding for the Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program will allow Northrop Grumman to conduct take-offs and landings from the U.S. Navy's nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

"We are proud of our legacy of innovation and creativity in developing new combat capabilities and are pleased to be selected to lead this revolutionary advancement in unmanned systems capabilities," said Northrop Grumman's Scott Seymour.

"The UCAS-D award is the culmination of several years of effort with the Navy to show the benefit of melding the capabilities of a survivable, persistent, long-range UCAS with those of the aircraft carrier," continued Northrop Grumman's Gary Ervin. "The UCAS-D program will reduce the risk of eventual integration of unmanned air systems into carrier environments."

Northrop Grumman will build two X47-B aircraft for the U.S. Navy -- the first of which will take flight during the closing months of 2009. The company expects to begin the first carrier landings in 2011.

The X-47B, a sister-ship to the X-47A, has a cruising altitude of 40,000+ feet and a combat radius of 1,500 nautical miles. The stealthy vehicle can carry an internal payload of 4,500 pounds and can travel at high subsonic speeds.

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RE: Love em
By Scorpion on 8/7/2007 5:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
This is the nature of americans, we are winners, and we like winners, we hate losers and we hate people that try to tell us what to do. To be american is all of the above, accept this. Americans are peaceful to an extent, but we also have global power projection and the way we got that is not just because of military capability, but because we have the balls to actually put it to use. Peace is fine, but if someone decides to flip you the bird and start shooting, Americans are keen to shoot back and eliminate the enemy.

Keep pumping your Rah-Rah-Rah Uhmerican fist to that one. That entire sentence is just ridiculous and riddled with insecurities. So you think we should be the playground enemy? Obviously you need to grow up. Pick up Sun-Tzu's Art of War sometime. It is not in our best interest to viciously attack anyone who "flips us the bird". That is not American ideals. Not the ideals of democracy or freedom. You cannot spread these ideals through the barrel of a gun when will you imbeciles realize this. The only thing a gun barrel does is weaken the other side to persuasion to spread our ideals through other means. The whole idea of this is counter intuitive to democratic and freedom principles.

War has consequences, it costs a lot of money to run a war these days. If you think we can declare war on anyone we want just because lives arent being lost, your dead wrong. War's cost money and lots of it, if we don't have it, we can't make war. The financials will keep war's in check.

Both you and masher2 keep raising this point, and I think you are dead wrong. Wars will always cost more, and we will always have more money in the world to fund them. This Iraq war is costing us heavily, but is that a problem? Why no we just borrow the money we need to fund it, or we just make it up somehow. You all have been seduced by the value of money it is ridiculous. Most of the money we spend on wars goes back to us anyhow! That may not be the case much longer as we continue to become less and less of a manufacturing country with less of our own resources. Then we become so dependant on other countries for the material we need. Do you not see a problem with that? Why do you think we have a double standard with China? It's not called the "War Machine" for nothing.

You are quite fooled to believe that the cost will be a deterent. The only thing both of you are saying is that money is worth more than a human life and I believe you are dead wrong. People are complacent to be screwed out of money by our government more and more they will become numb to losing it. So much of our "screwed out of money" goes into our bloated military funding (notice how I neglected using the term "defence funding"). This only benefits a nation only relying on monetary sacrifices for wars. I guarantee that a lost loved one is felt so much more than having less money. And that right there is the heart of the point that I was making in my previous post.

I am completely astonished that DailyTech somehow finds the both of you worthy of your status here. Neither of you, especially masher2 is capable of "reporting" or regurgitating agregated information without bias. DailyTech should have more sense than to give either of you too much credibility. And it's far more troubling to see how neither of you "gets it". This is what America is becoming I suppose. I'll leave you with some parting quotes.

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so, whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose -- and you allow him to make war at pleasure. If today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada, to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, 'I see no probability of the British invading us' but he will say to you, 'Be silent; I see it, if you don't.'" - Abraham Lincoln

A country cannot simultaneously prepare and prevent war. - Albert Einstein

I hardly doubt a single person reads this lengthy diatribe, but I enjoyed writing it so very much.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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