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X-47 makes autonomous touch-and-go maneuvers

Nov. 13, 2013 - 03:45AM   |  
By MICHAEL PECK   |   Comments
The X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator is prepared for a launch from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt.
The X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator is prepared for a launch from the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt. (MC3 Heath Zeigler/Navy)
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The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator conducted additional trials aboard the carrier Theodore Roosevelt this week.

The X-47, which already has conducted carrier takeoffs and landings, performed “precise touch-and-go maneuvers on the ship to generate data that characterizes the environment in close proximity of the carrier flight deck,” according to a Navy news release.

It also participated in flight deck aircraft handling drills. Operators monitored the aircraft’s autonomous 45-minute flights from a portable command and control unit on the Theodore Roosevelt’s flight deck.

The Navy will use the X-47 to demonstrate the value and safety of a digitized environment that allows a carrier to control combat UAVs.

“This weekend’s resumption of carrier-based flights for the X-47 continues our efforts to mature critical unmanned enabling technologies and reduce the technical risk for the follow-on Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy’s program manager for Unmanned Carrier Aviation.

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