Northrop has successfully completed a five-week series of structural proof tests of the US Navy second X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS).

The proof testing has proved that the aircraft can withstand all structural stresses and strains associated with take-off, flight and landing from the moving, pitching deck of an aircraft carrier.

AV-2 is identical to the first X-47B UCAS demonstration aircraft (AV-1), except that it will be equipped with aerial refuelling equipment.

The aircraft will also be used to demonstrate unmanned air-to-air refuelling using both the boom / receptacle approach and the probe and drogue approach in 2014.

Northrop is the US Navy prime contractor for the unmanned combat air system – demonstration (UCAS-D) programme awarded in 2007 to design, develop and produce two X-47B aircraft.