The flights - the first time manned and unmanned carrier aircraft have operated together in the same carrier controlled landing pattern at the same at the same time - took place in the Eastern Atlantic. They offered Northrop Grumman and the Navy an opportunity to collect data that will help reduce risks associated with integrating unmanned aircraft with conventional manned carrier operations.
"The X-47B has again pushed the boundaries of the UCAS program by demonstrating that it can operate seamlessly with conventional carrier assets in one of the most demanding environments in the world," said Capt. Beau Duarte, the Navy's UCAS program manager.
At the completion of the manned/unmanned flight trials, the X-47B landed safely aboard CVN 71, catching and quickly releasing the arresting cable before folding its wings and taxiing clear of the landing area.
Northrop Grumman's UCAS industry team includes Pratt & Whitney, GKN Aerospace, Eaton, General Electric, UTC Aerospace Systems, Dell, Honeywell, Moog, Wind River, Parker Aerospace, Sargent Aerospace & Defense, Rockwell Collins and Lockheed Martin.