Northrop Grumman’s X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS-D) successfully made its first test flight, 04th February, 2011, over Edwards Air Force Base, California.
The single engine combat UAV took off at 2.09pm PST at a speed of 180kt, and flew in a figure of 8 pattern for duration of 29 minutes. During the test flight the X-47B reached an altitude of 5,000 ft and a maximum speed of 240kts.
X-47B UCAS First Test Flight
The first X-47B, aircraft 1 or AV1, made its test flight with the landing gear down and while there were no hiccups during the flight, it did land 60ft ahead of where it was expected to. Although the craft overshot its landing it did land directly in the centerline, which gives the team a good starting point from which to tweak the flight control system.
The X-47B was originally scheduled to fly before the end of December, but braking issues further held up the already delayed test flight. Another last minute problem with the auxiliary power generation system stopped the craft from flying on Thursday, but the team was quick to make the necessary adjustments to ready the AV1 for the following day.
The second aircraft, the AV2, also completed it tests – to asses if the airframe could handle the 2.4g loads it may experience during air-to-air refueling – with ‘no test anomalies.’ The AV2 is now being prepared for fuel testing before being transferred to Edwards AFB in March with the goal of making its first flight in August.
Later in the year AV-1 will be transferred to the NAS Patuxent River, Md, Navy test center, where it will undergo tests onboard an aircraft carrier.