The X-47B drone has been considered to be a winner in the books of many others, especially when you take into consideration how it is able to land on the deck of an aircraft carrier all by itself. However, in order to push its performance capabilities to the next level, how does it fare when it comes to normal flight operations? Those questions, as well as any doubts that anyone has, has been answered recently, as the Navy conducted a bunch of joint maneuvers alongside an F/A-18 Super Hornet, and all of the action happened aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
This particular X-47B drone has seen some modifications made to it for the joint maneuvers, having a faster tailhook retraction as well as new software that will enable it to park at a faster rate after it has completed a flight. The X-47B drone did take off to the skies, where it flew carrier patterns alongside an F/A-18, where among the routines include a catapult launch, an eight-minute flight, a tailhook landing, taxiing and parking. It looked as though everything has gone down as smooth as butter, and in the future, we do look forward to the results of tests that are performed at night.
Ultimately, the Navy wants to deliver the UCLASS (unmanned carrier launched airborne surveillance and strike system), which would be a pretty scary thought for those who are on the wrong side of the military. [Press Release]
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