Qinetiq (UK defence research) has just devloped a system that allows a STOVL aircraft to land automatically on a ship at sea without any pilot
control. It has been developed for the JSF but could also be used for landing UAV's on ships.
I remeber when they talk about landing harriers on small ships (frigates and destroyers - the JSF could not in theory do this as it is a short take
off plane - however I did see the X-35 in Hover test lift off and go to about 50ft but later in the last test of the programme befoer the pentagon
deadline they tried to do a vertical takeoff and transition to forward flight the plane was only able to lift off about 6ft off the ground before it
suffered from instability and the test was aborted - I wonder if they ever tried it agioan or if the weight gain has now rule out such a possibility)
The JSF can land vertically but taking off it couldn't do it in the tests because it was overweigh. Lockheed said that by the time the aircraft was
in production they would have the weigh issue solved. Don't know if they have made any progress on it though.
This system would be good for UAV’s though like someone said, especially since the US Navy is getting the X-47.
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