Northrop is currently testing two of the aircraft for the Navy’s unmanned combat air system carrier demonstration program. The X47-B is the first fixed-wing unmanned system designed to operate from an aircraft carrier, according to a Northrop release.
“The UCAS-D team is delighted to have the X-47B recognized for its innovative design and capabilities by Popular Science, one of the world’s most prestigious science and technology magazines,” said Navy Capt. Jaime Engdahl, the UCAS program manager. “We are truly honored to be listed among the year’s most significant scientific and engineering achievements.”
The program is currently being tested at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and will soon transition to Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Md. for shore-based carrier suitability testing. The company said the program plans a demonstration of aircraft carrier launches and recoveries to take place in 2013.