Business

November 30, 2012

Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy conduct first catapult launch of X-47B


Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have conducted the Navy’s first catapult launch of an unmanned system using the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator.

The test was conducted Nov. 29 at a shore-based catapult facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. It marks the first of several shore-based catapult-to-flight tests that will be performed before the Navy’s UCAS Carrier Demonstration program catapult launches the X-47B from a ship.

Northrop Grumman is the Navy’s prime contractor for the UCAS-D program.

“Today’s successful launch is another critical milestone in the carrier-suitability testing phase of the UCAS-D program,” said Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman’s UCAS-D program director. “It also provides another confidence-building step toward our rendezvous with history next year.”

Following the catapult launch, the X-47B conducted a test flight over Chesapeake Bay near Patuxent River. The flight included several maneuvers designed to simulate tasks that the aircraft will have to perform when it lands on a ship, including flying in a typical ship holding pattern, and executing a carrier approach flight profile. The flight also allowed the test team to gather precision navigation data associated with each of those maneuvers.

According to Daryl Martis, Northrop Grumman’s UCAS-D flight test director, the catapult event was significant for another reason: “Today’s launch provided our team with another opportunity to demonstrate the precision operation of the Northrop Grumman-developed Control Display Unit [CDU], one of the key enablers of future flight deck operations for the X-47B,” he said.

The CDU is a wireless, arm-mounted controller that will allow a flight deck operator to control and maneuver the X-47B on the flight deck, including moving it into the catapult, disengaging it from the carrier’s arresting wires and moving it quickly out of the landing area.

Over the next few weeks, the UCAS-D program expects to conduct several shore-based catapults at Patuxent River. On Nov. 26, an X-47B was hoisted aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) at Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va. to begin a series of deck handling trials. The trials, expected to run through mid December, will be used to evaluate the performance of the CDU in an actual carrier environment.

In 2013, the program plans to demonstrate the ability of an X-47B to operate from a Navy aircraft carrier, including launch, recovery and air traffic control operations. The program will also mature technologies required for potential future Navy unmanned air system programs.

Northrop Grumman’s UCAS-D industry team includes Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, GKN Aerospace, 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.


 
 

 
Raytheon photograph

Raytheon completes key Air, Missile Defense Radar reviews

Raytheon photograph Partially-populated, full-sized Air and Missile Defense Radar array. Raytheon has completed two critical program reviews for the new Air and Missile Defense Radar, the U.S. Navy’s next generation integ...
 
 
Insitu photograph

Insitu demonstrates long endurance capabilities of Integrator unmanned aircraft

Insitu photograph Insitu’s Integrator unmanned aircraft recovers via SkyHook; the aircraft recently completed a 24-hour endurance flight. Insitu announced July 22 the successful 24-hour flight of its Integrator unmanned a...
 
 

U.S. Navy selects Northrop Grumman for ship self-defense system

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $12 million task order for a full range of engineering services to continue modernizing the Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. The contract has a potential value of $61 million over five years, if all options are exercised. SSDS MK2 is a combat system designed for anti-air defense...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin selected for U.S. Air Force’s satellite hosted payload initiative

Lockheed Martin photograph Lockheed Martin has a long history of developing and integrating hosted payloads onto spacecraft. Since 2000, the company has delivered 84 payloads on 16 different types of satellites from multiple ma...
 
 
boeing-france

Boeing delivers upgraded French AWACS aircraft

Boeing on July 17 delivered on schedule the first of four upgraded French Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. The upgraded aircraft will increase the fleet’s surveillance, communications and battle management ca...
 
 

Lockheed Martin demonstrates JAGM dual-mode guidance section in second flight test

Lockheed Martin recently demonstrated its Joint Air-to-Ground Missile dual-mode guidance section during a second internally funded flight test at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. During the test, the rail-mounted JAGM flew 6.2 kilometers and initially acquired the target using its precision strike, semi-active laser. The dual-mode guidance section then engaged its millimeter wave radar, and...
 




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>