Defense

December 10, 2012

USS Truman hosts first flight deck taxiing of X-47B UCAS-D

Tags:
PO3 Jonnie Hobbie
USS Harry S. Truman


Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and personnel from the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System program office (PMA-268) integrated test team made history Dec. 9 as they taxied an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator aircraft for the first time aboard a carrier.

During the test phase, UCAS deck operators used an arm-mounted control display unit (CDU) to remotely control the aircraft.

Gerrit Everson, one of the operators who controlled the X-47B, said the UCAS demonstrator displayed excellent integration with Truman’s flight deck.

“With the CDU, we followed the aircraft director’s signals to move the aircraft left or right, over the arresting wire, to and from the catapults and to various spotting positions,” said Everson. “These tests proved that we can taxi the X-47B with the precision that an aircraft carrier’s flight deck requires.”

Lt. Cmdr. Larry Tarver, Truman’s aircraft handling officer, said every test on the aircraft brings the Navy one step closer to unmanned carrier aviation.

“Nobody has ever done this before,” said Tarver. “Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have flown all over the world, but an X-47B has never operated on an aircraft carrier. Every evolution with this aircraft is taken step-by-step because we don’t fully know how it will react to a carrier environment. It’s a little out of our comfort zone, so our safety precautions are maximized.”

“Every exercise completed out here is data gathered for the UCAS-D team,” said Tarver. “A carrier environment can only be simulated to a certain extent on land, so we have to take our time when it comes to evolutions like this.”

Matt Funk, the lead test engineer on the demonstration project, said Truman has been extremely helpful during the X-47B’s testing, and Sailors aboard the carrier have been receptive to the training required to work with the new system.

“Everyone’s really excited about this program and has provided a lot of positive feedback,” said Funk. “I think it’s been especially popular with younger Sailors who have grown up surrounded by computers. They recognize that the systems used to control and fly the aircraft are very much like what they’d expect to see in a video game.”

“We are bringing the most advanced technologies together to make this a successful evolution,” said Lt. Anthony Lee, Truman’s flight deck officer. “This type of innovation hasn’t been seen since the first time an aircraft landed aboard a carrier, which puts us further ahead as a military.”

According to Don Blottenberger, Principal Deputy Program Manager for PMA-268, the X-47B’s testing aboard Truman has resulted in significant progress for UCAS-D.

“UCAS-D is a learning program which means we’re here to learn all of the lessons of how we will integrate into a variety of the systems on board Truman,” said Blottenberger. “Because we are still in the early stages of this technology, we aren’t currently looking at how these aircraft might be utilized from a mission stand point. Nevertheless, the learning we have done has uncovered the benefits of autonomous flight regardless of whether the aircraft is manned or unmanned.”

Blottenberger said crew members and operators, like those the team has worked with aboard Truman, will remain a large part of this learning and demonstration program through its completion.

“Every person we’ve met is curious and has great questions about what we’re doing and how Sailors interact with the X-47B,” said Blottenberger. “Truman has been invaluable to our program.”

The X-47B is scheduled to complete taxi testing before Truman returns to its homeport in Naval Station Norfolk, Va.




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


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 
 

SMC stands up new Advanced Systems, Development Directorate

While space officially begins at 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, for the men and women of the Air Force space begins near sea level at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base,Calif. SMC is where innovative ideas are matured into space systems that deliver operational capabilities to U.S. warfighters in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine

SEWIP block upgrade program evaluated for LCS

Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Helen Hernandez monitors an SLQ-32 radar aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deplo...
 




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>