X-47B UCAS Refueling from Top
X-47B UCAS Refueling
X-47B UCAS Refueling Boom
The X-47B is a tailless, strike fighter-sized unmanned aircraft developed by Northrop Grumman as part of the U.S. Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) Carrier Demonstration program. Under a contract awarded in 2007, the company designed, produced and is currently flight testing two X-47B aircraft. In 2013, these aircraft were used to demonstrate the first ever carrier-based launches and recoveries by an autonomous, low-observable relevant unmanned aircraft. In April of 2015, the X-47B once again made aviation history by successfully conducting the first ever Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) of an unmanned aircraft. AAR unlocks the full potential of what an unmanned surveillance, strike and reconnaissance system can do in support of the Navy. These historical demonstrations solidify the concept of future unmanned aircraft and proved that the X-47B can perform standard missions like aerial refueling and operate seamlessly with manned aircraft as part of the Carrier Air Wing.
The X-47B UCAS is designed to help the Navy explore the future of unmanned carrier aviation. The successful flight test program is setting the stage for the development of a more permanent, carrier-based fleet of unmanned aircraft.
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