Northrop Grumman X-48B (UCAS-D)

On 4 February 2011, the Northrop Grumman Corporation-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.

X-47B Erstflug

Die Northrop Grumman X-47B absolvierte am 4. Februar 2011 ihren Erstflug (Foto: Northrop Grumman).  


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.

"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.

Northrop Grumman's industry team includes GKN Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney, Eaton, GE, Hamilton Sundstrand, Dell, Honeywell, Goodrich, Moog, Wind River, Parker Aerospace and Rockwell Collins.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a leading global security company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in aerospace, electronics, information systems, shipbuilding and technical services to government and commercial customers worldwide.

Weitere interessante Inhalte
Gefährlicher Trend Einsatzbereitschaft der USAF-Flugzeuge sinkt

14.03.2018 - Die durchschnittliche Einsatzbereitschaft der Flugzeuge und Hubschrauber der US Air Force ist im letzten Jahr weiter gefallen. Besonders wichtige Waffensysteme haben schlechte Werte. … weiter

Zuma-Start mit Falcon 9 Streng geheimer Satellit angeblich verloren

09.01.2018 - Ein streng geheimer, amerikanischer Zuma-Aufklärungssatellit soll nach dem Start am Sonntag verglüht sein. Er war von einer Falcon 9-Rakete ausgesetzt worden, die wohlbehalten nach Cape Canaveral … weiter

Militärische Giganten Top 10: Die schwersten Bomber der Welt

18.12.2017 - Schon seit der Frühzeit der Luftfahrt waren die Bomber meist die größten und schwersten Flugzeuge. … weiter

Globale Fighter Top 10: Die zahlreichsten aktiven Kampfjet-Typen

13.12.2017 - Welche Kampfflugzeugmuster dominieren heute die weltweiten Flotten? Unsere Top-10-Liste gibt Aufschluss. … weiter

Northrop Grumman Erste E-2D für Japan fliegt

17.11.2017 - Northrop Grumman hat im Werk St. Augustine Japans erste E-2D Advanced Hawkeye in die Luft gebracht. … weiter

FLUG REVUE 04/2018


Einzelheft bestellen

* Lufthansa mit neuem Design
* Rettungshubschrauber in Deutschland
* Die stärkste Rakete der Welt
* US Air Force im Wandel