X-47B aboard USS Harry S. Truman

 X-47B (serial 168064) being lifted aboard USS Harry S. Truman / © US Navy News

X-47B (serial 168064) being lifted aboard USS Harry S. Truman / © US Navy News

Posted By Philip Stevens

Northrop Grumman X-47B Pegasus Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrator on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). The air vehicle arrived by barge from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The USS Truman is the first aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. The Navy plans to conduct X-47B carrier deck handling tests aboard the ship.

The two X-47B demonstrators were planned to have a three-year test program with 50 tests at Edwards AFB and NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, culminating in sea trials in 2013. However, the aircraft performed so consistently that the preliminary tests stopped after 16 flights.[13] The aircraft will be used to demonstrate carrier launches and recoveries, as well as autonomous inflight refueling with a probe and drogue.

The X-47B has a maximum unrefuelled range of over 2,000 miles (3,200 km), and an endurance of more than six hours. In November 2011, the Navy announced that aerial refuelling equipment and software would be added to one of the prototype aircraft in 2014-15 and tested.

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Source: US Navy News Release

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