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The U.S. Navy achieved a new landmark in advanced aviation today with the successful testing of its X-47B unmanned aircraft. Developed by Northrop Grumman, the X-47B was commissioned to take-off and land onto moving aircraft carriers while out at sea. The design of the unmanned aircraft has a very futuristic feel to it, reminiscent of a UFO — which among many things should help account for an increase in alleged UFO sightings
I suspect the sound it gives off should clue-in most folks that is not the typical UFO sited.
Northrop Grumman X-47B First Flight - US Navy Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration
EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Feb. 4, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC - News)-built U.S. Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft successfully completed its historic first flight at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), Calif.
Conducted by a U.S. Navy/Northrop Grumman test team, the flight took off at 2:09 p.m. PST and lasted 29 minutes. This event marks a critical step in the program, moving the team forward to meet the demonstration objectives of a tailless fighter-sized unmanned aircraft to safely take off from and land on the deck of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.
A social media version of this release that includes photos, video clips, and additional quotes and background material, is available at www.irconnect.com...
"First flight represents the compilation of numerous tests to validate the airworthiness of the aircraft, and the robustness and reliability of the software that allows it to operate as an autonomous system and eventually have the ability to take-off and land aboard an aircraft carrier," said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the Navy's UCAS-D program manager.
Northrop Grumman is the Navy's UCAS-D prime contractor and leader of the UCAS-D industry team.
"Designing a tailless, fighter-sized unmanned aircraft from a clean sheet is no small feat," said Janis Pamiljans, vice president and UCAS-D program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems sector. "Commitment, collaboration and uncompromising technical excellence among the Navy, Northrop Grumman and the UCAS-D team industry partners made today's flight a reality. We are indeed honored to have given wings to the Navy's vision for exploring unmanned carrier aviation."
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 p.m. PST. The flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation, and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design.
As with all test programs, first flight represents the culmination, verification and certification of pre-flight system data collected and analyzed by both the Navy and Northrop Grumman. Airframe proof load tests, propulsion system accelerated mission tests, software maturity and reliability simulations, full system taxi tests, and numerous other system test activities were all completed and certified prior to first flight.
The aircraft will remain at Edwards AFB for flight envelope expansion before transitioning to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., later this year. There, the system will undergo additional tests to validate its readiness to begin testing in the maritime and carrier environment. The UCAS-D program is preparing the X-47B for carrier trials in 2013.
The Navy awarded the UCAS-D prime contract to Northrop Grumman in August 2007. The six-year contract calls for the development of two X-47B fighter-sized aircraft. The program will demonstrate the first-ever carrier launches and recoveries by an autonomous, unmanned aircraft with a low-observable-relevant planform. Autonomous aerial refueling will also be performed after carrier integration and at-sea trials.
Originally posted by OneEleven
The only angle at which it looks like the classic flying saucer is in the picture posted in the OP.....
You'd have to be flying next to this thing to ever see it from such an angle....
From below, where most human beings would be situated, it looks like a plane...
A cool plane, but a plane none the less....
I think most of us are used to the shape of stealth aircraft by now....This design has been around since the 90's at least.....
THEN AGAIN, while most people would know what they're looking at, there are bound to be those who's imagination turns everything they see into the proverbial tootsie roll....
After all, there are half a dozen (or more) threads started every week here on ATS claiming "PROOF!! UFO"....or "GLOWING ORB!!", when to most of us, it's plain to see (no pun intended), they're just planes...
Originally posted by gort51
Nice UAV, but.......How many surveillance drones does the US need?