Face of Defense
Face of Defense: USS
Roosevelt Conducts UAV Testing
USS Theodore Roosevelt, At Sea – (DoD
News) – August 18, 2014 – The Navy’s experimental unmanned X-47B air vehicle
returned to carrier operations aboard USS Theodore Roosevelt Aug. 17 and
completed a series of tests, operating safely and seamlessly with manned
The experimental X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System
Demonstrator conducts an arrested landing aboard the aircraft carrier USS
Theodore Roosevelt at sea, Nov. 9, 2013. The USS Theodore Roosevelt is the third
aircraft carrier to test the tailless, unmanned autonomous air craft's ability
to integrate with carrier environment.
U.S. Navy photo By Seaman Anthony N.
Building on lessons learned from its first test period aboard
the Roosevelt in November 2013, the X-47B team is now focused on perfecting deck
operations and performing maneuvers with manned aircraft in the flight pattern.
“Today we showed that the X-47B could take off, land and fly
in the carrier pattern with manned aircraft while maintaining normal flight deck
operations,” said Navy Capt. Beau Duarte, program manager for the Navy’s
Unmanned Carrier Aviation office. “This is key for the future Carrier Air Wing.”
The first series of manned/unmanned operations began when the
ship launched an F/A-18 and an X-47B. After an eight-minute flight, the X-47B
executed an arrested landing, folded its wings and taxied out of the landing
area. The deck-based operator used newly developed deck handling control to
manually move the aircraft out of the way of other aircraft, allowing the F/A-18
to touch down close behind the X-47B’s recovery.
This cooperative launch and recovery sequence will be
repeated multiple times over the course of the planned test periods. The X-47B
performed multiple arrested landings, catapults, flight deck taxiing and deck
“For this test period, we really focused on integration with
manned aircraft,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Hall, X-47B flight test director.
“We re-engineered the tailhook retract actuator and updated operating software
to expedite wingfold during taxi, both of which reduce time in the landing area
post-recovery. Our goal was to minimize the time in the landing area and improve
the flow with manned aircraft in the landing pattern.”
“The X-47B’s air vehicle performance, testing efficiency and
safety technologies and procedures developed and tested throughout the program’s
execution have paved the way for the Navy’s future carrier-based unmanned system
capability,” said Navy Rear Adm. Mat Winter, who oversees the Program Executive
Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons.
The X-47B will remain aboard CVN 71 for the duration of the
underway period. It will perform additional cooperative deck and flight
operations with F/A-18s and complete night deck handling and flying quality
The Navy will continue X-47B flight operations over the next
year to refine the concept of operations to demonstrate the integration of
unmanned carrier-based aircraft within the carrier environment and mature
technologies for the future Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and
USS Theodore Roosevelt