The Navy’s X-47B high-speed stealth UAV makes its first successful cruise flight…
Northrop Grumman’s X-47B UCAS demonstrator successfully completed its first flight in cruise configuration. The recent test, conducted September 30that the Edwards Air Force Base, California, marks the first time the craft has been flown with its landing gear retracted.
Previous test flights without the landing gear raised made it impossible to analyze the crafts aerodynamic properties, but the recent tests gave researchers the “first clean look at the aerodynamic cruise performance of the X-47B air system” and according to Janis Pamiljans, VP and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems division, “it is proving out all of our predictions.”
The jet powered unmanned aerial vehicle as designed with aerodynamic and stealth in mind, and once deployed it will serve as a robotic strike aircraft will the ability to take on a range of missions.
Next stage of testing will move to Naval Air Station, Patuxent River later this year. Shore based carrier testing will begin in 2012, closely followed by trails at sea. When the aircraft carrier tests take place, the drone will become the first unmanned aircraft to take off and land on a carrier deck.