X-47B Operates Aboard
From USS Theodore Roosevelt Public
USS Theodore Roosevelt, At Sea --November 10, 2013 --
-- The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) conducted flight
operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), Nov. 10.
The event, the most-recent in a series of carrier-based
tests, demonstrated the integration of the latest in naval aviation technology
with the most advanced and capable carrier.
The experimental X-47B
Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) conducts an arrested landing
aboard CVN 71
This weekend's tests demonstrated the X-47B's ability to
integrate with the carrier environment. The aircraft performed precise touch and
go maneuvers on the ship to generate data that characterizes the environment in
close proximity of the carrier flight deck. In addition, the aircraft took part
in flight deck handling drills, completed arrested landings and catapult
launches. Mission operators monitored the aircraft's autonomous flight from a
portable command and control unit from Theodore Roosevelt's flight deck during
each of its 45-minute flights.
"It is a tremendous opportunity for the 'Big Stick' to be a
part of the development and testing of the future of Naval Aviation," said Capt.
Daniel Grieco, Theodore Roosevelt's commanding officer. The UCAS is an
impressive system that gives us all a glimpse into the support and strike
capabilities we can expect to join the fleet in the years to come. The tactical
and support possibilities for such platforms are endless, and I know the crew of
TR are proud to be able to be a part of that development."
A major objective for the UCAS-D program is to demonstrate a
digitized carrier controlled environment to allow for robust communications
between the aircraft and all carrier personnel involved with launching,
recovering and controlling the aircraft. A digitized carrier environment will
ultimately increase flexibility and improve safety.
"This weekend's resumption of carrier-based flights for the
X-47 continues our efforts to mature critical unmanned enabling technologies and
reduce the technical risk for the follow-on Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne
Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system," said Capt. Beau Duarte, the program
manager for Unmanned Carrier Aviation.
Current and future test events will continue to mature
unmanned technologies and refine concept of operations to further inform
unmanned carrier requirements. These program successes represent significant
advancements in naval aviation technology and provide a glimpse into the future
integration of manned and unmanned aircraft aboard the carrier fleet.
"Today, we took another significant step toward integration
of unmanned capabilities into our carrier airwings and aircraft carrier
environments," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter. "The Navy remains steadfast in its
commitment to maturing today's technologies which have established a realistic
path to tomorrow's affordable, flexible unmanned carrier aviation capabilities
for our warfighters."
Carrier-based tests of the X-47B began in December 2012 with
flight deck operations aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Carrier testing
resumed in May 2013 aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), where the X-47B
completed its first carrier-based catapult launch, followed by its first
carrier-based arrested landing in July.
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