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.


 
 

 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Space Solar Power Initiative established by Northrop Grumman, Caltech

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman’s Joseph Ensor (left) and Caltech’s Ares Rosakis (right) shake hands as part of the recent SSPI commemoration event held at the California Institute of Technology, Pasade...
 
 

UTC introduces active side-sticks to large commercial aviation

UTC Aerospace Systems is introducing the world’s first active side-stick controller for large commercial aircraft. UTC Aerospace Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp. UTC Aerospace Systems’ Actuation & Propeller business unit is supplying the active side-sticks for the cockpit of the new Irkut MC-21 single aisle aircraft. The MC-21 family of aircraft will...
 
 

Boeing presents flight test 787 Dreamliner to air, space museum

Boeing, elected and community leaders joined together April 17 to celebrate the permanent display of one of the original 787-8 Dreamliner flight test airplanes at the Pima Air & Space Museum. “Boeing has a strong presence in Arizona and is proud to share this important achievement in aviation history with the community, our employees and...
 

 

U.S. Army selects AVL to develop advanced combat engine

AVL Powertrain Engineering, Inc. announced April 20 that it has been awarded a $17 million project by the National Advanced Mobility Consortium to collaborate research and development work with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center for development of an opposed piston, two-stroke Single Cylinder Advanced Combat Engine Technology Demonstrator. AVL and...
 
 
NG-people

Northrop Grumman names VP of Electronic Systems

Northrop Grumman has appointed Robert J. Gough vice president of the Combat Avionics Systems business unit within its Electronic Systems sector, effective immediately. In his new position, Gough will have executive responsibili...
 
 

U.S. Air Force completes operational testing on Raytheon’s MALD-J

Raytheon and the U.S. Air Force successfully completed operational tests of Miniature Air Launched Decoy-Jammer, satisfying all requirements to attain Initial Operational Capability. “MALD-J’s unique capabilities have been proven in 42 successful flight tests during the last two years and brought us closer to full rate production,” said Mike Jarrett, vice president of Raytheon...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>