Navy’s X-47B performs first touch-and-go landing on an aircraft carrier

Posted at 5:02 PM, May 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-18 17:02:42-04

Norfolk, Va. – The Navy’s unmanned X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) made it’s first touch-and-go landings on an aircraft carrier on the USS George H.W. Bush on Friday.

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 X-47B made history as the first unmanned vehicle to launch from a carrier catapult.

“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)

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 arrested landings later in 2013.

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