There are a few things that I have become completely obsessed with recently in aviation. One of the biggest ones is the development of UAVs. There are so many amazing new technologies and new applications that we haven’t even considered yet. How about using them on aircraft carriers?
It is hard enough for a pilot in the seat to land on a carrier, so how good will a computer do? Only time will tell, but the Navy is getting one step closer.
Northrop Grumman has been working with the Navy on developing the X-47B, an Unmanned Carrier Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D). The first flight took place a little over two years ago on land, and then over this last weekend it performed its first arrested landing, also on land. According to NavalDrones.com this is leading up to carrier flight tests that are scheduled to start later this month on the USS George H. W. Bush.
NavalDrones.com has a great collection of videos of the X-47B that follow its development from the beginning.
It will be interesting to continue to follow the development of this and other carrier-borne systems.