Northrop Grumman & The US Navy Integrate Manned, Unmanned Flight Operations For The First Time Ever!
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) and the U.S. Navy recently worked together on a project that could represent the future of aviation, integrating manned and unmanned flight operations.
The flights were conducted from the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Eastern Atlantic and featured an X-47B Unmanned Air System (UCAS) and an F/A-18 Hornet, the first time manned and unmanned carrier aircraft have operated together in the same carrier controlled landing pattern at the same time.
As a result, the test provided Northrop Grumman and the Navy an awesome opportunity to collect data intricate in ensuring safety associated with integrating unmanned and manned aircraft.
According to Northrop Grumman’s press release,
“The X-47B has again pushed the boundaries of the UCAS program by demonstrating that it can operate seamlessly with conventional carrier assets in one of the most demanding environments in the world,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s UCAS program manager.
During the flights, the X-47B flew in the landing pattern with the F/18-Hornet at approach speeds of 120 miles per hour, at a pattern altitude of 1,200 feet. Mission operators aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt had full control of the X-47B during flight maneuvers that involved several planned precision approaches to the carrier.
“Today’s operation proved once again that the X-47B is a mature, reliable system that can integrate safely and effectively with manned carrier operations, both on the deck and in the air,” said Carl Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
At the completion of the manned/unmanned flight trials, the X-47B landed safely aboard CVN 71, catching and quickly releasing the arresting cable before folding its wings and taxiing clear of the landing area.
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