30 July 2012
NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., July 30, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE)

The Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC)-built X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator has successfully completed its historic first flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent (Pax) River.

The 36-minute flight the first for the tailless, strike-fighter-sized aircraft since it was transported to the Navy base in June from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. was successfully completed on July 29 at 11:36 a.m. Eastern time. It marks the first time a tactical unmanned aircraft has been fully integrated into the air traffic patterns and the command and control structure of the Pax River flight test complex.

"This flight of the X-47B is the first time an autonomous, carrier-capable unmanned system has flown at Pax River," said Carl Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman. "It's also a major milestone for the program as the Navy/Northrop Grumman team prepares the aircraft to enter carrier suitability testing this fall, the last major phase of testing before we begin carrier trials in 2013.

" Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the Navy's UCAS Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The company designed and built two X-47B demonstrator aircraft for the program, which is managed by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).

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