Thu, Dec 18, 2008
X-47B One Of Two UCAS Platforms Under Development
Northrop Grumman unveiled the first of the US Navy's new
unmanned combat aircraft Tuesday, at a ceremony in Palmdale, CA
attended by Navy officials, state and local government
representatives, suppliers and Northrop Grumman employees.
The new aircraft, designated the X-47B Navy Unmanned Combat Air
System (UCAS), is the first of two aircraft Northrop Grumman will
produce for the Navy to demonstrate unmanned combat aircraft
operations from the deck of an aircraft carrier.
"Unveiling the first X-47B UCAS aircraft signals a sea change in
military aviation, made possible through the Navy's vision and
leadership," said Scott Winship, Northrop Grumman vice president
and Navy UCAS program manager. "I'm extremely proud of the Northrop
Grumman-led industry team for its tireless dedication and hard work
accomplishing this important milestone."
The Navy awarded the demonstration contract to Northrop Grumman
in 2007 and aircraft assembly was completed in just over a
"The X-47B will demonstrate how unmanned combat aircraft can
operate from aircraft carriers and is a necessary first step toward
extending the aircraft carrier's reach and power projection from
anywhere in the world," said Capt. Martin Deppe, the US Navy
Unmanned Combat Aircraft System Program Manager. "We look forward
to a time when we can introduce a new long range, persistent,
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) -- strike
capability to the carrier decks of tomorrow."
The aircraft will now undergo subsystem and structural testing
in preparation for first flight in fall 2009. UCAS CV Demonstration
sea trials are planned to begin in late 2011.
"We have seen unimaginable technology emerge from California's
Antelope Valley and Northrop Grumman," said US Rep. Howard P.
"Buck" McKeon of California's 25th Congressional District. "The
X-47B UCAS joins a respected legion of exciting military aircraft
produced here in the district. While this X-47B is the first of its
kind, I believe it is the first in a long line of unmanned combat
aircraft that will be produced by the talented men and women of
Northrop Grumman's Palmdale manufacturing center."
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