Monday, June 1, 2015

Autonomous Jet Fighter Launches From Aircraft Carrier | #DefenseTech

Popular Science The X-47B has become the first tail-less aircraft to operate from a carrier deck, which also makes it the first jet, manned or unmanned, with a low observable "stealth" profile to operate from a carrier. It's the first self-piloting, autonomous unmanned jet to fly in any branch of the military.

Developed by the American defense technology company Northrop Grumman, the X-47 project began as part of DARPA's J-UCAS program, and subsequently became part of the United States Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The X-47B is a tailless jet-powered blended-wing-body aircraft capable of semi-autonomous operation and aerial refuelling.

As of 2015, its two active demonstrators are undergoing flight and operational integration testing, having successfully performed a series of land- and carrier-based demonstrations. In August 2014, the US Navy announced that it had integrated the X-47B into carrier operations alongside manned aircraft.Northrop Grumman intends to develop the prototype X-47B into a battlefield-ready aircraft, the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) system, which will enter service in the 2020s. The X-47B demonstrators themselves will become museum exhibits after their flight testing is complete.

Which leaves me to ask, has the US military never seen Stealth?

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