Defense

May 15, 2013

Naval Air Forces commander calls X-47B catapult launch a pivotal moment in Naval aviation

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator is towed into the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is scheduled to be the first aircraft carrier to catapult-launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck.

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator completed its first ever carrier-based catapult launch from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia May 14.

“Today we saw a small, but significant pixel in the future picture of our Navy as we begin integration of unmanned systems into arguably the most complex war fighting environment that exists today: the flight deck of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier,” said Vice Adm. David Buss, commander, Naval Air Forces, the Navy’s “Air Boss”.

The unmanned aircraft launched from the deck of George H.W. Bush at 11:18 a.m., EDT. It executed several planned low approaches to the carrier and safely transited across the Chesapeake Bay to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., after a 65-minute flight.

Buss called the launch a “watershed event” in naval aviation and said he expects that decades from now, a future “Air Boss” will have a picture of the X-47B launching from Bush behind his or her desk just as he has a picture of aviation pioneer Eugene Ely’s first-ever landing on the deck of a ship in 1911 behind his desk today.

Completing another important first for the UCAS-D program, the team demonstrated the ability to precisely navigate the X-47B within the controlled airspace around an aircraft carrier at sea and seamlessly pass control of the air vehicle from a “mission operator” aboard the carrier to one located in the Mission Test Control Center at NAS Patuxent River for landing.

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator launches from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck.

“The flight today demonstrated that the X-47B is capable of operation from a carrier, hand-off from one mission control station to another, flight through the national airspace and recovery at another location without degradation in safety or precision,” said Matt Funk, lead test engineer for the Navy UCAS program.

Prior to the May 14 catapult launch, the UCAS test team also conducted deck-handling and ship-integration testing to demonstrate the capability to safely operate the X-47B in the dynamic, unforgiving environment of an aircraft carrier flight deck.

“This event is a testament to the teamwork, professionalism and expertise of everyone involved with X-47B program,” said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, program executive officer for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons. “Their work will positively impact future unmanned aviation development for years to come.”

Over the next few weeks, the X-47B aircraft will fly approaches to the ship multiple times and eventually land on the pitching flight deck, said Navy UCAS Program Manager Capt. Jaime Engdahl.

The UCAS team will conduct additional shore-based testing with the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before its final carrier-based arrested landing demonstration later this summer.

 

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is the first aircraft carrier to successfully catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck.

 
 

An X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator is lifted on an aircraft elevator aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). George H.W. Bush is scheduled to be the first aircraft carrier to catapult launch an unmanned aircraft from its flight deck.




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


 
 

 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Maeson L. Elleman

Hanscom working to provide 5th, 4th gen aircraft common tactical picture

Air Force photograph by SrA. Maeson L. Elleman A U.S. Air Force F-15C Eagle taxis for takeoff on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 16, 2014. The Space, Aerial and Nuclear Networks Division at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is worki...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Staci Miller

Australian F-35 lands at new home

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Staci Miller The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A Lightning II jet arrives at Luke Air Force Bas, Ariz., Dec. 18, 2014. The jet’s arrival marks the first international partner F-35 to a...
 




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>