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Navy’s X-47B UCAV Makes Breakthrough Flight

Navy’s X-47B UCAV Makes Breakthrough Flight

Navy’s X-47B UCAV makes debut flight at the NAS Patuxent River carrier simulator test center...

Northrop Grumman’s X-47B unmanned carrier-capable strike aircraft has demonstrated its ability to land on aircraft carrier runways after successfully performing its debut flight at the U.S. Navy’s test center, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.

The X-47B made its maiden flight early last year, however the recent flights mark the first time the aircraft demonstrated its ability to land on runway which simulates that of an aircraft carrier.

northrop grumman x-47b ucav

Northrop Grumman X-47B Makes Debut Flight At Pax Terrestrail Carrier Simulator Test Center

The airstrip at NAS Pax River is one of the world’s only terrestrial carrier simulators, which is fitted with arresting cables to allow aircraft to perform for carrier-style landings, and a steam catapult for high-speed launches.

The X-47B Air Vehicle 1 made a 36-minute flight with a F/A-18 giving chase over Chesapeake Bay on 29th July. During the flight the aircraft reached a max altitude of 7,500 ft. and air speeds of up to 180 kts.

The tailless flying wing craft will now spend the remainder of the year preparing for real carrier tests scheduled for 2013.

The X-47B itself is not intended for active duty, the UCAS program that created it will provide the basis for future aircraft of its kind, which the military aims to make operational by the end of the decade.

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  1. Clay Dillow: Video: The Navy's Autonomous X-47B Warplane Makes its First East Coast Test Flight. Popular Science, 08/01/2012.
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