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.


 
 

 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 
 

Raytheon awarded first international contract for Paveway IV

Raytheon has received a contract from an international customer for Pavewayô IV precision guided bombs valued at more than $200 million. As part of the sale Raytheon will deliver hundreds of the advanced munitions, which are regarded as the ‘weapon of choice’ for the Royal Air Force. The contract represents the first sale of Pavewayô...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Northrop Grumman dedicates Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Florida

Northrop Grumman photograph Tom Vice, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, addresses the media with, from left, Florida State Sen. John Thrasher, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Rep. Ron DeS...
 

 

Lockheed Martin GMLRS alternative warhead logs successful flight test series, shifts to next testing phase

Lockheed Martin successfully conducted the fifth and final Production Qualification Test for the new Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System Alternative Warhead recently at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. During the long-range test, four rockets were fired from a HIMARS launcher and destroyed their respective targets approximately 65 kilometers away. The test is the final milestone...
 
 

Forecast International expects UAV market to rise strongly through next decade

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan sent unmanned aerial vehicle production to record heights, but with the last U.S. military troops in Afghanistan slated to depart the country this year, the Pentagon’s demand for unmanned air vehicles is slackening. However, while fewer UAVs are expected to roll off the production lines from 2014 to 2023,...
 
 
sikorsky-china

China certifies Sikorsky S-76D™ helicopter

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced April 15 that the Civil Aviation Administration of China has issued a validation type certificate for the S-76D™ aircraft, allowing Sikorsky to begin delivering the commercial helicopter  to...
 




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>