The US Navy’s X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator has completed its first flight deck taxiing aboard the eighth Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75).
Conducted by sailors aboard the aircraft carrier and personnel from the navy unmanned combat air system programme office (PMA-268) integrated test team, the UCAS demonstrator performed successful integration with the Truman’s flight deck during the trials.
X-47B operator Gerrit Everson said with the help of an arm-mounted control display unit (CDU), the UCAS demonstrator was moved and remotely controlled over the arresting wire, to and from the catapults and to various spotting positions.
"These tests proved that we can taxi the X-47B with the precision that an aircraft carrier’s flight deck requires," Everson added.
Taxi testing follows completion of the first land-based catapult launch of the UCAS demonstrator at a shore-based catapult facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, US.
PMA-268 principal deputy programme manager Don Blottenberger said the X-47B’s testing aboard Truman has resulted in significant progress for UCAS-D.
"UCAS-D is a learning programme which means we’re here to learn all of the lessons of how we will integrate into a variety of the systems on board Truman," Blottenberger added.
In 2013, the programme aims to validate the X-47B’s performance to safely operate from a US Navy aircraft carrier, including conducting launch, recovery and air traffic control operations.
The UCAS-D industry team includes Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, GKN Aerospace, Eaton, General Electric, UTC Aerospace Systems, Dell, Honeywell, Moog, Wind River, Parker Aerospace and Rockwell Collins.
Image: The X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator taxiing on the flight deck of USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Photo courtesy of US Navy, photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristina Young / Released.