NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy hoisted an X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator on board aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Nov. 26, in preparation for an unmanned aircraft's first, carrier-based testing.
A team from the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System program office (PMA-268) embarked Truman to conduct tests and demonstrations.
The X-47B, which boasts a wingspan of more than 62 feet (wider than that of an F/A-18 Super Hornet), will demonstrate seamless integration into carrier flight deck operations through various tests. During each demonstration, the X-47B will be controlled remotely via a hand-held control display unit (CDU).
Truman will be the first modern aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft.
Capt. Jaime Engdahl, N-UCAS program manager, said the X-47B's delivery aboard Truman was among the most historic moments in the program's history.
"This is a very important moment for the X-47B," said Engdahl. "The moment the aircraft set down on Truman's deck was the moment it officially met the fleet."
Cmdr. Kevin Watkins, N-UCAS's flight test director, agreed with Engdahl's sentiment.
"Bringing the X-47B aboard Truman is a big milestone for the program," said Watkins. "We've been testing the aircraft for the last several years and to finally put it on a ship is so exciting. If these tests are successful, they will prove that the future for unmanned aircraft is wide open."
Lt. Cmdr. Larry Tarver, Truman's aircraft handling officer, who helped coordinate the X-47B's on-load, said his Sailors are eager to participate in the aircraft's testing.
"It means a lot to our crew to be part of naval history," said Tarver. "We have Sailors who received additional training to safely move the X-47B and they are excited to play a part in its testing."
While technical challenges are to be expected when introducing the new system to a carrier's flight deck, Engdahl said he expects the tests to be successful citing strong teamwork between his team and Truman's crew.
"The support from Truman has been phenomenal and it's going to continue to take close cooperation between the carrier's Sailors and the UCAS-D team to make these demonstrations successful," said Engdahl. "To operate large, unmanned aircraft off of a carrier, from anywhere in the world, will be a key capability for the Navy after these tests are successful."
The X-47B test will be conducted over a three week period which will include in-port and underway demonstrations aboard Truman.
For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.
Does it work with X Box or Playstation?
IMHO this maybe what will get the monkey off of the Pentagons back?
That monkey being the cost of building, maintaining Super carriers and their battle groups. The Aircraft carrier itself cost $9+ billion. That’s not counting aircraft, munitions, men, supplies and maintenance.
We are currently building a new one and have seven more planned.
an older article about the same plane
The Navy’s X-47B killer drone is about to get a lot more lethal. Nine months after the 38-foot-long, bat-shaped flying robot took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California for its very first flight, the Navy has announced it will add an aerial refueling capability to at least one of the two X-47 prototypes sometime in 2014.
The decision to add refueling software and equipment was published on the federal government’s business opportunity website and first reported by InsideDefense. (Alas, the piece is behind a firewall.)
How big a deal is this? In a word, very.
After all, what makes the X-47B unique is the fact that it’ll be the first drone to perform one of aviation’s hardest maneuvers: taking off and landing on an aircraft carrier. And drones capable of taking on more gas in-flight could extend, by a huge margin, the range at which the Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers can strike land and sea targets. That in turn should help the expensive flattops avoid the submarines, strike planes, ballistic missiles and other defenses that nations such as China are building specifically to threaten American carriers.
The key to this range increase is the pilot. Or, more to the point, the absence of a pilot.
Limited by a human being’s endurance, a typical manned fighter can fly just 400 miles over the course of a few hours before it’s time to return to base. A flying robot can do much better, observes the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington, D.C. think tank. “A carrier-based [Unmanned Combat Air System] with an unrefueled combat radius of 1,500 nautical miles or more and unconstrained by pilot physiology offers a significant boost in carrier combat capability,” CSBA posited in a 2008 study.
“Indeed, with aerial refueling, a UCAS would be able to stay airborne for 50 to 100 hours — five to 10 times longer than a manned aircraft,” the CSBA study continued. “With multiple aerial refuelings, a UCAS could establish persistent surveillance-strike combat air patrols at ranges well beyond 3,000 nautical miles.” For those of you keeping track, that’s nearly 10 times the range of today’s carrier air wing.
The X-47, which the Navy wants by 2018, has been in development for nearly a decade by Northrop Grumman, builder of the Air Force’s long-range Global Hawk spy drone. After a series of test flights from land bases — including its first wheels-up cruise, depicted above — in 2013 the X-47B will head out to the aircraft carrier USS George Washington for additional trials, launching and landing from the carrier’s crowded, 1,100-foot flight deck.
The aerial refueling tests will follow the carrier trials. The X-47B will be fitted with both Navy-style refueling gear — a probe the refueling plane uses to “plug” into a basket suspended from the tanker — and the receptacle refueling equipment favored by the Air Force, which requires that the tanker plug its own probe into the receiving plane. Dual systems will allow the X-47B to sip gas from the Navy’s carrier-based F/A-18 tankers or the Air Force’s much larger KC-135s and KC-10s.
Not coincidentally, just last year Northrop scored a $33-million contract to outfit a Global Hawk as a tanker, with Air Force-style refueling gear. That means the Navy’s killer drone could someday find itself taking on gas from another flying robot. A robotic tanker could further boost the attacking drone’s range and, by extension, the striking power of the American fleet.
Video: Northrop Grumman
and so it begins...
seriously though it is pretty cool. Takes the humanity out of our side of the war though which many people could argue removes a lot of the deterrent for us getting involved. If robots do our fighting and American lives aren't directly at risk then why not attack?
And on the is it run via playstation or xbox that is neat factor...There is a video around too...
Sham II Syrian “Tank” Controlled by PlayStation Controller
By Edwin Kee on 12/11/2012 22:32 PST
What you see above is the Sham II, which is a 100% made in Syria vehicle that is constructed from the chassis of a car, and rebels have touted it to be a tank of sorts. Taking around a month of work for the design, it will in no way be able to stand up to the different kinds of modern day weaponry, but it sure puts some hope into the hearts of Syrian rebels. The designer Mahmud Abud from the Al-Ansar rebel brigade in the Aleppo region of northwest Syria claims that this fully-enclosed vehicle is made from light steel, measuring roughly four meters (yards) in length and a couple of meters across, and will come mounted with a 7.62 mm machinegun that is controlled from within the cabin.
The Sham II comes with five cameras, where three are located at the front, with one at the back, and another attached to the gun. The driver will manoeuvring the vehicle through viewing a display thanks to feedback from the cameras. A PlayStation controller is used to navigate the Sham II around. The Sham II (sounds like a Sham, if you get what I mean) will have metal walls that are 2.5cm thin, and can resist up to 23mm cannon fire, but it will be unable to handle a rocket-propelled grenade or tank fire, or course. The entire thing costs approximately $10,000.
One good comm jammer and your radio control toys are of limited value.
Such butthurt in this thread.
Sent from a phone using an app
Really not sure why anyone would come down on the side of not wanting to keep our navy as dominant as possible. Just the logistic implications of living on a planet that is mostly water would seem to quash that kind of thinking.
U.S. navy to attempt 1st drone landing aboard aircraft carrier
NORFOLK, Va. -- The Navy will attempt to land a drone the size of a fighter jet aboard an aircraft carrier for the first time Wednesday, showcasing the military's capability to have a computer program perform one of the most difficult tasks a pilot is asked to do.
If all goes as planned, a successful landing of the X-47B experimental aircraft will mean the Navy can move forward with its plans to develop another unmanned aircraft that will join the fleet alongside traditional airplanes to provide around-the-clock surveillance while also possessing a strike capability. The aircraft's success would pave the way for the U.S. to launch unmanned aircraft without the need to obtain permission from other countries to use their bases.
The X-47B experimental aircraft will take off from Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland before approaching the Bush, which is operating off the coast of Virginia. The drone will try to land by deploying a tailhook that will catch a wire aboard the ship and bring it to a quick stop, just like normal fighter jets do. The manoeuvr is known as an arrested landing and has previously only been done by the drone on land at Patuxent River. Landing on a ship that is constantly moving while navigating through turbulent air behind the aircraft carrier is seen as a more difficult manoeuvr.
"Your grandchildren and great grandchildren and mine will be reading about this historic event in their history books. This is not trivial, nor is it something that came lightly," said Rear Adm. Mat Winter, the Navy's program executive officer for unmanned aviation and strike weapons.
Just like a traditional airplane, if the landing has to be called off for any reason at the last second, it can perform a touch-and-go manoeuvr. It performed nine such manoeuvrs in May, when it also took off from an aircraft carrier for the first time.
The X-47B will never be put into operational use, but it will help Navy officials develop future carrier-based drones. Those drones could begin operating by 2020, according to Winter. Four companies are expected to compete for a contract to design the future unmanned aircraft, which will be awarded in Fiscal Year 2014.
The two experimental aircrafts that have been built for the first round of testing will be retired and placed in museums at Patuxent River and at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.
The move to expand the capabilities of the nation's drones comes amid growing criticism of America's use of Predators and Reapers to gather intelligence and carry out lethal missile attacks against terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.
Critics in the U.S. and abroad have charged that drone strikes cause widespread civilian deaths and are conducted with inadequate oversight. Still, defence analysts say drones are the future of warfare.
The X-47B is far bigger than the Predator, has three times the range and can be programmed to carry out missions with no human intervention, the Navy said.
While the X-47B isn't a stealth aircraft, it was designed with the low profile of one. That will help in the development of future stealth drones, which would be valuable as the military changes its focus from the Middle East to the Pacific, where a number of countries' air defences are a lot stronger than Afghanistan's.
The X-47B has a wingspan of about 62 feet and weighs 14,000 pounds, versus nearly 49 feet and about 1,100 pounds for the Predator.
While Predators are typically piloted via remote control by someone in the U.S., the X-47B relies only on computer programs to tell it where to fly unless a human operator needs to step in. The Navy says the aircraft relies on precision GPS navigation, a high-integrity network connection and advanced flight control software to guide itself.
Developed by Northrop Grumman under a 2007 contract at a cost of $1.4 billion, the X-47B is capable of carrying weapons and is designed to be the forerunner for a drone program that will provide around-the-clock intelligence, surveillance and targeting, according to the Navy, which has been giving updates on the project over the past few years.
"It has taken several years of software development, thousands of simulated landings in high fidelity labs and many hours of flight test in the Patuxent River landing pattern to prove this aircraft is up for the challenge," Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System wrote in a blog post. "Today X-47B is ready!"
The X-47B can reach an altitude of more than 40,000 feet and has a range of more than 2,100 nautical miles, versus 675 for the Predator. The Navy plans to show the drone can be refuelled in flight, which would give it even greater range.
USS GEORGE H. W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first carrier-based arrested landing on board USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia July 10.
"It isn't very often you get a glimpse of the future. Today, those of us aboard USS George H.W. Bush got that chance as we witnessed the X-47B make its first ever arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "The operational unmanned aircraft soon to be developed have the opportunity to radically change the way presence and combat power are delivered from our aircraft carriers."
Today's demonstration was the first time a tailless, unmanned autonomous aircraft landed on a modern aircraft carrier.
This test marks an historic event for naval aviation that Navy leaders believe will impact the way the Navy integrates manned and unmanned aircraft on the carrier flight deck in the future.
"Today we witnessed the capstone moment for the Navy UCAS program as the team flawlessly performed integrated carrier operations aboard USS George H.W. Bush with the X-47B aircraft," said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS Program Manager. "Our precision landing performance, advanced autonomous flight controls and digital carrier air traffic control environment are a testament to the innovation and technical excellence of the Navy and Northrop Grumman team."
The July 10 landing was the final part of three at-sea test periods for X-47B during the last eight months, culminating a decade of Navy unmanned integration efforts that show the Navy's readiness to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation says Rear Adm. Mat Winter, who oversees the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons in Patuxent River, Md.
"This demonstration has enabled us to merge industry and government technologies together which will enable the U.S. Navy to pursue future unmanned aviation carrier capabilities," said Winter, who witnessed the historic landing. "The government engineering and testing team in partnership with our Northrop Grumman team members have matured the technologies in this X-47B system to position us for today's event, which marks a milestone in naval aviation."
During today's testing, the X-47B completed the 35-minute transit from Pax River to the carrier and caught the 3 wire with the aircraft's tailhook. The arrested landing effectively brought the aircraft from approximately 145 knots to stop in less than 350 feet.
Shortly after the initial landing, the aircraft was launched off the ship using the carrier's catapult. The X-47B then proceeded to execute one more arrested landing.
"We have been using the same [carrier] landing technology for more than 50 years now and the idea that we can take a large UAV and operate in that environment is fascinating," said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager. "When I think about all of the hours and all of the work-ups the team put into executing this event, I had no doubt the air vehicle was going to do exactly what it was supposed to do."
"Across the entire spectrum of military operations, an integrated force of manned and unmanned platforms is the future," said Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus. "The X-47B's autonomous arrested landing aboard USS George H.W. Bush shows how the Navy and Marine Corps are riding the bow wave of technological advances to create this 21st century force."
The X-47B spent several weeks aboard aircraft carriers in recent months. The Navy UCAS program successfully completed CVN deck operations aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in December 2012 and aboard Bush in May. During the May underway period, the X-47B completed its first-ever catapult launch. Since May, the integrated test team conducted a number of shore-based arrestments at Pax River in preparation for the demonstration aboard the ship.
"We have learned a lot from our flight deck operations, our shore-based flight test and extensive modeling and simulation," Engdahl added. "Our team has executed all major program objectives and developed the concept of operations and demonstrated technologies for a future unmanned carrier-based aircraft capability. [Today] we have proven we can seamlessly integrate unmanned systems into the carrier environment."
"We have certainly come a long way in the 102 years since Eugene Ely made the first arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier. Naval aviators have always been at the forefront of operational and tactical innovation, and today was no exception," said Mabus. "People make unmanned aviation possible and it is people who will provide the fresh thinking and new ideas so crucial to successes like the X-47B program and the unmanned aircraft of the future."
The Navy will continue to update this story as more information from today's demonstration is made available.
For more information on USS George H.W. Bush follow the ship's fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/USSGeorgeHWBush.
There goes my dream job, oh well I have my job awaiting working for the NY Transit.