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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