Business

November 16, 2012

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy demonstrate precision, wireless ground handling of X-47B


Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have taken a first critical step toward demonstrating that the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator can be maneuvered safely and wirelessly on the crowded deck of an aircraft carrier.

In early November, the team successfully completed its first shore-based trials of a new wireless, handheld device called a Control Display Unit. Developed by Northrop Grumman, the device will allow deck operators to maneuver the X-47B by remote control on the carrier deck.

The team demonstrated the CDU’s ability to control the X-47B’s engine thrust; to roll the aircraft forward, brake and stop; to use its nose wheel steering to execute tight, precision turns; and to maneuver the aircraft efficiently into a catapult or out of the landing area following a mock carrier landing.

Northrop Grumman is the Navy’s prime contractor for the UCAS Carrier Demonstration program.

“The CDU is fundamental to integrating the X-47B seamlessly into carrier deck operations,” said Daryl Martis, Northrop Grumman’s UCAS-D test director. “It will allow us to move the aircraft quickly and precisely into the catapult for launch, or out of the landing area following recovery. Both of these activities are essential to maintaining the rhythm of the flight deck.”

In practice, a deck operator will work in tandem with the flight deck director – aka a “yellow shirt” – to move the X-47B via the CDU to a designated flight deck location. Standing in front of the aircraft, the director will use traditional hand signals to indicate how, when and where the aircraft should move, the same way he would communicate with a pilot in a manned aircraft. The deck operator will stand behind the director and use the CDU to duplicate the director’s instructions as digital commands to the aircraft.

According to Martis, the CDU will help streamline and, in fact, enable many of the flight test operations required for UCAS-D shore-based carrier suitability testing.

“Instead of towing the aircraft out to the flight line, we can now start the X-47B outside its hangar, then use the CDU to taxi it out to the runway, or into a catapult for launch,” he said. “Use of the CDU is the most time-efficient way to move the X-47B into the catapult or disengage it from the arresting gear after landing.”

The UCAS-D program plans to conduct its first shore-based catapults of X-47B aircraft later this month. That testing will be followed by hoisting an X-47B aboard an aircraft carrier, and using it to validate the performance of the CDU in an actual carrier environment.

In 2013, the program plans to demonstrate the ability of an X-47B to safely operate from a Navy aircraft carrier, including launch, recovery, and air traffic control operations. The program also plans to mature technologies required for potential future Navy unmanned air system programs. For the latest X-47B news and information, please visit
www.as.northropgrumman.com/products/nucasx47b/.

Northrop Grumman’s UCAS-D industry team includes GKN Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, Eaton, General Electric, UTC Aerospace Systems, Dell, Honeywell, Moog, Wind River, Parker Aerospace and Rockwell Collins.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Lockheed Martin, StemRad studying first-responder radiation shield for potential deep-space application

StemRad, Ltd. and Lockheed Martin have initiated a joint research and development effort to determine if StemRad’s radiation shielding technology ñ originally designed for first-responders ñ could help to keep astronauts safe on deep-space exploration missions. This collaboration is part of Lockheed Martin’s ongoing effort to establish international partnerships for human explorat...
 
 

General Dynamics to continue modernizing submarine tactical weapons systems

General Dynamics has received a $20 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy to continue modernizing the AN/BYG-1 Weapons Control System Technology Insertion and Advanced Processing Build software for U. S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy submarines. The AN/BYG-1 software analyzes and tracks submarine and surface-ship contact information, providing tactical, situational awareness for sub...
 
 

Boeing, Vietnam Airlines sign exclusive pilot training agreement

Boeing and Vietnam Airlines announced a five-year exclusive pilot-training agreement to support the Hanoi-based airline’s 787 Dreamliners. Under the agreement, Boeing Flight Services, a business unit of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, will provide flight training for the airline’s new 787 Dreamliner fleet at Boeing’s Singapore training campus. Nearly 90 Vietnam Airlines p...
 

 
boeing-launch

Boeing WGS-7 satellite to provide military with 17 percent more bandwidth

Boeing’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is now in orbit and will soon provide the U.S. and allied militaries with 17 percent more secure communications bandwidth than its predecessors thanks to a payload upgrade. ...
 
 

Boeing, Japanese partners formally sign agreement on 777X

Boeing and key Japanese partners July 23 signed a formal agreement for significant work on Boeing’s new 777X airplane. The agreement finalizes last year’s announcement by Boeing, Japan Aircraft Industries and Japan Aircraft Development Corporation of a Memorandum of Agreement to provide approximately 21 percent of the major airplane structure components for the 777X. The...
 
 

Lockheed Martin receives additional EW contract to protect Navy’s fleet

The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $154 million contract to upgrade the fleet’s electronic warfare defenses against evolving threats, such as anti-ship missiles. Under this low-rate initial production contract for Block 2 of the Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), Lockheed Martin will provide additional systems to upgrade the AN/SLQ-32 systems on U.S....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>