The Northrop-built US Navy X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstration (UCAS-D) aircraft has successfully completed its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California, US.

The test flight data of the tail-less fighter-sized unmanned aircraft will be used to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation, as well as the aerodynamic control of the tail-less design.

The aircraft will be kept at Edwards AFB for flight envelope expansion before transitioning to US Naval Air Station Patuxent River later this year.

The system will be further tested to confirm its readiness to begin testing in the maritime and carrier environment.

Under the UCAS-D programme, the X-47B will undergo carrier trials in 2013.

Northrop has been awarded the six-year contract by the US Navy for the development of two X-47B fighter-sized aircraft.