UCAS Drone Going to Carriers in One Year
The Navy is one year away from landing its first unmanned jet aircraft aboard a carrier after completing the most recent round of surrogate tests aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).
In early July, members from the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) carrier integration team engaged in extensive software testing aboard Truman to validate the concept of autonomous UAV operations around an aircraft carrier and prepare for the X-47B unmanned aircraft’s arrival on a carrier next year.
Last year, the team conducted surrogate testing aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) with a manned F/A-18 to evaluate ship systems, avionics systems and early versions of the unmanned vehicle software. The team is now back at sea aboard Truman with the F/A-18 aircraft, testing precision landing performance with the latest X-47B software and hardware configuration.
During at-sea testing, the Navy UCAS team gathered valuable feedback from fleet air-traffic controllers and air-department personnel about the usability of the new software and lessons learned about how to most effectively operate UAVs in the carrier environment.
Throughout the remainder of 2012, the Navy UCAS program will conduct carrier suitability and system performance testing with both X-47B aircraft at Pax River. These tests will include arrested landings, catapult launches, and flight deck operations at the land-based facility and establish the aircraft’s ability to conduct precision approaches to the aircraft carrier.
Source: PEO(U&W) Public Affairs