Northrop Grumman‘s X-47B unmanned aircraft completed a series tests on deck operations aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier to see how the drone maneuvers in a flight pattern alongside manned aircraft.
The U.S. Navy said Sunday that the drone demonstrated catapults, arrested landings, flight deck taxiing and refueling and integration functions with the F/A-18 as part of a sequence of cooperative launch and recovery operations.
“Today we showed that the X-47B could take off, land and fly in the carrier pattern with manned aircraft while maintaining normal flight deck operations,” said Capt. Beau Duarte, a program manager at the Navy’s unmanned carrier aviation division.
Lt. Cmdr. Brian Hall saidthe test utilized new post-recovery deck handling controls “to minimize the time in the landing area and improve the flow with manned aircraft in the landing pattern.”
The Navy said it will continue with cooperative deck and flight tests over the next year as part of the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program.
This current test period follows previous tests held in November, where the Navy evaluated X-47B’s guidance and control functions.