Skip to comments.X-47B Accomplishes First Ever Carrier Touch and Go aboard CVN 77
Posted on 05/18/2013 3:59:55 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
X-47B Accomplishes First Ever Carrier Touch and Go aboard CVN 77
Story Number: NNS130517-15Release Date: 5/17/2013 5:11:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandon Vinson, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs
USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- The Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) has begun touch and go landing operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 17.
For UCAS-D, this represents the most significant technology maturation of the program. Ship relative navigation and precision touchdown of the X-47B are critical technology elements for all future Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) aircraft.
Don Blottenberger, UCAS-D Deputy Program manager, commented, "This landing, rubber hitting deck, is extremely fulfilling for the team and is the culmination of years of relative navigation development. Now, we are set to demonstrate the final pieces of the demonstration."
Earlier in the week, the UCAS-D test team and CVN 77 worked together to successfully complete the first ever launch of an unmanned aircraft from an aircraft carrier proving the importance of introducing unmanned aviation into the already powerful arsenal of aircraft squadrons.
"We are proud to be a part of another historic first for Naval Aviation. The landing was spot-on and it's impressive to witness the evolution of the Carrier Air Wing," said Capt. Brian E. Luther, Commanding Officer USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)
The various launch and landing operations of the X-47B on the flight deck of George H. W. Bush signify historic events for naval aviation history. These demonstrations display the Navy's readiness to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation operations.
Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for Unmanned Combat Air Systems program office, said, "When we operate in a very dynamic and harsh carrier environment, we need networks and communication links that have high integrity and reliability to ensure mission success and provide precise navigation and placement of an unmanned vehicle."
"Today, we have demonstrated this with the X-47B, and we will continue to demonstrate, consistent, reliable, repeatable touch-down locations on a moving carrier flight deck," he continued. "This precision relative navigation technology is key to ensuring future unmanned systems can operate off our aircraft carriers."
The UCAS-D program plans to conduct shore-based arrested landings of the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before final carrier-based arrestments later in 2013.
George H.W. Bush is currently conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean, strengthening the Navy's forward operating and war fighting ability.
Looks wicked.. and, I believe, a game changer.
Not that impressed.
Ok you bucket-of-bolts - do a landing at night in stormy weather with the ship pitching about in the sea.
Then I will be impressed
And I believe in-flight refueling has already been demonstrated but maybe with a different platform. VSTOL cannot be far behind.
Plus, theres been tremendous progress with unmanned naval helicopters with prototype successful drug interdiction demonstrated in the Caribbean. Half a century later, DASH is very close to finally being viable. Naval Aviation is one the edge of a quantum leap in effectiveness across the Fleet!
Add to this the imminent fielding of shipboard rail-guns and beam weapons while shifting to all electric operations on stealthy, evolved hull design, rapidly reconfigurable, high-speed warships and the US Navy will be beyond anyones capability to match for at least a generation. Huge changes in crewing and training are in development to support this. Joint operations and logistics is now damn near seamless with Combined operations integration not far behind.
Our remaining biggest problem is shifting the Fleet over to these new capabilities while retaining numbers. Politicians will always try to whittle us down to a fleet which cannot afford to take losses. With huge construction and training lead-times required for this type of Navy, we will have to fight the coming war with what we have. And the first battle is with politicians who are spendthrift with everything except defense.
Finally, we must guard against this being just another R&D effort for the Democrats to give to the Chinese.
With an unmanned aircraft who / what is “calling the ball”?
Yeppers. Iran will do what it can five finger discount this baby when it’s flying over or near their airspace. Just spoof the GPS signal and it’s all theirs.
“Maverick” ain’t gonna like this.
“Robot has the ball...” [snicker]
Now, the real test(ing) will be at night, and in inclement weather...
They accomplish this, then I’ll be sold on this technology...
Also...Does this aircraft accomplish taxiing ops on a crowded flight deck??? of id it going to need help from “special” handlers to move it to its spot???
I would think you could marry (hardline) a remote connection to someone walking bedside the aircraft and move it more efficiently that way than rely upon data links or the remote control (wherever that is) for safety considerations...
Just my initial knee-jerk reaction...
They had better make for sure that Iran can’t control them.
Trust our blue water types to figure out how to eliminate pilots. Now it’s a gamer’s game.
On the more serious side, Maybe the need for night bad weather landings on a deck going up and down over fifty feet and trying to catch a wire, will be a thing of the past.
It finally appears as if the Navy has the ability to remain number one with a fleet of less than 300 ships, which a whole lot smaller than in the past.
Now if we could just make the ships radio controlled...
“call the link”
“digits in link”
all via “ones and zeros”
This subsonic aircraft is a fighter the way the F-117 was a fighter, which is to say it’s a bomb truck.
That`s a byte of a rattlesnake.
Just a question.... What and or who is the handler signaling in that last picture ?
“Just a question.... What and or who is the handler signaling in that last picture ?”
Not sure, but I for one would not stand that close to a landing pilot-less vehicle.
The IRS just ordered 20 of them....
I don’t think he was signaling anyone. I think he just had his hands in the air in a “Yeah, we did it!” kind of moment.
I saw the YT videos earlier in the week. This is one impressive aircraft! Only when it was poised for ‘cat launch’, did I see an F-18 nearby, and got the size of this thing! It is NOT small.
I believe that this might be a new generation of, at least, three squadrons, when they are through! I hope to be of life and mind enough, to see that reality.
....Guess they have value, eye in the sky loiter ability etc ...300 miles out as pickets protecting perimeter etc .... Seems our DOD has become far to dependent on GPS satellites that are far to easy for an enemy to kill IMO.
Hopefully backup satellites are stashed and ready in vertical launchers at sea and on land for emergency replenishment.....
Love the technology, do not get me wrong, but my EDC bag still has a couple of compasses and topographic maps in it.
You can’t send a kid up in a crate like that!
One thing I didn't notice was whether the X-47 is remotely piloted or autonomous. Was "Maverick" sitting in the carrier with a dozen video screens or did the plane truly land on its own?
The first pic perfectly captures the significance...with the LSO “Paddles” standing there watching it land..
The engine is an older type Pratt F-100 series, low cost it works etc, to reduce program risk. I'd love to see one of their small commerical cores and a gearbox for a mini-geared-turbofan like the ones they are working on for the commerical side, but that is money and risk. The range gained from that might be an eye opener, if you look @ the numbers they are getting for the big commerical geared turbofans.
I’m gonna suggest a remote operator vs autonomous pilot named “chip” ..
.. Not yet ready for that I suppose.....:o)
Good question ....
Nav is probably augmented with inertial guidance. They can't spoof that.
Freepers cheering another advance in surveillance technology. Bunch of dolts.
Now if we could apply technology to the ACTUAL 21st century battle front, the propaganda war, we might stand a chance of lasting another generation.
Kinda like a concept car.
This is NOT an advance in surveillance technology, it is an advance in aircraft carrier/unmanned aircraft interface technology. All of the surveillance technology on this aircraft is already in use on other platforms.
So who is the dolt now?
“Ok you bucket-of-bolts - do a landing at night in stormy weather with the ship pitching about in the sea.”
Coming soon to a Navy near you ;-)
No need - they can develop a version that in rough weather will perform a gentle splashdown near the carrier and deploy inflatable devices to hold it up until it can be fished out of the sea by the carrier's crew. They might even come up with a Harrier/Osprey type version that needs no runway at all.
The day of manned combat aircraft is all but over. Old-school Air Force fighter jocks sound just like old-school battleship commanders scoffing at Billy Mitchell.
Good knee-jerk reaction, Stevie, and you called it right. We had an article mid-week that showed a contractor on the flight deck taxiing the UAV around. He had an arm-mounted controller attached to a cable. I don’t know if the cable was attached to the aircraft, or a controlling system somewhere on the carrier...
I believe puting the aircraft on a leash for subsequent trials (for now) would be good for crew safety...
Who knows, it might be a good thing for speed, communications on the flight deck, control...Your Plane Captains (Sr.Petty Officers) could theoretically take the A/C from engine start up to the Cat by themselves...
Cat team hooks it up and let it fly...
Might be very efficient, cost savings for the need for multiple crew to work the A/C on the flight deck...
Just thinking outside the box...
I only worked on an CV (64) for a few weeks to do some TDY for another rating (OS1, old friend of mine, I heard he was sick and volunteered to take his place for a while during that deployment) who had to have some surgery (Appendicitis, very near P.I.) in mid-deployment years ago...
Got to meet some of the crews flying off that stamp...Good folks!!!
Those damn things never rest...I loved getting back to the relative quiet of the DDG when I was in the fleet...
That’s a good one. Too good.
Sit up higher in your chair so reality doesn’t fly so far over your tinfoil dunce cap.
As a famous aero genius I know once said, aspect ratios are extremist, they work best at both ends.
The X-47B is IMHO esentially a Blended Wing Body.
Low Aspect Ratio center section, and stub High Aspect Ratio Wings.
Notice the center section might be flying off of Vortex Lift @ a High AOA on this approach and the outer-wings have split flaps killing lift...
Brilliant, Absolutely Brilliant...