One of my biggest obsessions recently has been UAV’s, and the X-47B in particular. As incredible as I find UAVs it is even more incredible to me that the Navy has pursued an aircraft like this. Naval aviation just carries so many unique attributes that I never thought they would even be interested in this technology.
After two and a half years of development the Navy recently achieved arguably the biggest milestone in making the UCAS-D a reality. On July 10 they successfully performed an arrested landing on an aircraft carrier with the X-47B on board the USS George H.W. Bush. When I saw the video, which can be found below, the only thought I had was, WOW!
Maybe it is just the nature of aviation, but it seems like they continue to make advances where other industries crawl along at a snail’s pace. This is the type of technology that really sparks innovation in the world. Like many technologies we may not fully appreciate its impact until far into the future, but there is no doubt it will have a tremendous impact.
The Navy has a great timeline of events on their website describing the development process, and Northrop Grumman, the lead developer, gave a nice description of the first arrested landing in their press release. More information about previous milestones can be found here, here, and here.
But, if all you want is some high quality video footage, that can be found below.