Saturday, 20 July 2013

BUSH Landing – The American Aircraft Carrier GEORGE H.W. BUSH has proved the viability of Drones at Sea by the landing of a Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System with an arrested landing off the coast of Virginia.   This was the first landing on a carrier by a tailless, unmanned autonomous aircraft and was the beginning of the final part of three at sea test periods for X-47B over the last eight months.   The X-47B completed the 35 minute transit from Pax River to the Carrier and caught the 3 wire with the aircraft’s tailhook bringing effectively 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.   On the third approach to “BUSH” the X-47B aircraft self detected a navigation computer anomaly that required the air vehicle to transit to the assigned shore based divert landing site, and the X-47B duly navigated to and landed without incident.     The X-47B first flew in 2011, and as of 2013 it is undergoing flight testing, having successfully performed a series of land and carrier-based demonstrations and it intended to develop the prototype X-47B into a battlefieldready aircraft, which will enter service by 2019.

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