Navy drone plays well with manned aircraft, caps it with a carrier landing

Sponsored Links

Steve Dent
August 20th, 2014
Navy drone plays well with manned aircraft, caps it with a carrier landing

The unmanned X-47B drone has proven itself carrier-capable, but can it fit into normal flight operations? The Navy aimed to find out recently in some joint maneuvers alongside an F/A-18 Super Hornet aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The X-47B model was tweaked with faster tailhook retraction and new software so that it could be parked more quickly after flights. It then flew carrier patterns along with an F/A-18, including a catapult launch, eight-minute flight, tailhook landing, taxiing and parking. As shown in the video below, crews were able to get the X-47B out of the way quickly after touchdown, letting the manned Super Hornet land shortly afterwards. It'll soon perform night-flying tests and other maneuvers, toward the Navy's ultimate goal of a Skynet-ish sounding UCLASS (unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike system).

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Popular on Engadget