The U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carriers flight decks are some of the most chaotic and deadly real estate in the world. Teeming with scores of high-performance aircraft, wheeled vehicles and up to a thousand sailors generating up to several hundred sorties per day, flight decks “are fraught with danger,” the Naval Safety Center warned in a 2003 publication. “You can get blown down by prop wash, blown over-board by jet exhaust, run over by taxiing aircraft or sucked up and spit out by a turning engine.”
Archived posts with tag ‘X-47B’
The U.S. Navy is beginning the planning process for its next-generation carrier air wing. New fighters, drones, radar planes and resupply aircraft are in testing or concept development. The result, sometime after 2030, could be an even more powerful naval air force.
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.
Offiziere.ch: Air Power’s Robotic Future: An Interview with Northrop Grumman’s Carl Johnson
The future of aerial warfare was on dramatic display on Feb. 4 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. At around 2:00 PM local time, a 38-foot-long, bat-shaped, jet-powered robotic aircraft lifted off from the runway and climbed to 5,000 feet. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle orbited the airfield for 30 minutes before descending to a flawless, autonomous landing.
Pilotless warplanes are proliferating across the Pacific. This poses a big problem for U.S. defense planners, according to one retired U.S. Air Force general.
Squeezed between rising costs and declining budgets, the U.S. Navy is considering cutting or abandoning the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program in favor of accelerated development of aircraft carrier-launched, armed drones. But it’s unclear how much confidence the Navy has in such robotic aircraft’s combat capabilities.
It was an event a century in the making. At 2:09 PM Pacific Standard Time on Feb. 4, the first full-scale prototype of Northrop Grumman’s X-47B carrier-capable drone fighter took off on from Edwards Air Force Base in California for its inaugural test flight. “Taking off under hazy skies, the X-47B climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, flew several racetrack-type patterns, and landed safely at 2:38 PM PST,” Northrop announced in a press release. “The flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design.”