X-47B Flight Operations


08/19/2014: The Navy’s unmanned X-47B conducts flight operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

The aircraft completed a series of tests demonstrating its ability to operate safely and seamlessly with manned aircraft.

Credit: Navy Media Content Services:8/17/14

And from a piece published by our partner AUVSI:

The U.S. Navy has started another round of X-47B tests yesterday, this time pairing the unmanned combat air vehicle with manned aircraft on board the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

“Today we showed that the X-47B could take off, land and fly in the carrier pattern with manned aircraft while maintaining normal flight deck operations,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, program manager for the Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Aviation office. “This is key for the future Carrier Air Wing.”

The Navy operated the tests in conjunction with an F/A-18 Hornet. The X-47B flew for eight minutes before performing an arrested landing. Then the deck operator used a new deck handling control to move the aircraft to then allow the Hornet to land immediately afterward.

“For this test period, we really focused on integration with manned aircraft,” said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Hall, X-47B flight test director. “We reengineered the tailhook retract actuator and updated operating software to expedite wingfold during taxi, both of which reduce time in the landing area post-recovery. Our goal was to minimize the time in the landing area and improve the flow with manned aircraft in the landing pattern.”

The Navy will continue X-47B tests through the next year and will incorporate night deck handling and flying quality evaluations in future exercises.

 By Danielle Lucey