X-47B completes autonomous carrier tests

November 21, 2013 1:47 | By | Add a Comment

The X-47B is the Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air Systems Demonstrator, and it recently completed a series of tests of automated catapult starts, touch and go’s, landings and other flight procedures on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Aside from the GPS autoland function and other systems enabling autonomous flight, the main focus of the tests was to see how such self-piloting drones integrate with normal carrier operations and how they fit in the military airspace.

This is all part of the ongoing effort to move from piloted jet fighters towards unmanned drones that are capable of carrier operations and actual air combat. And judging from the successful carrier operations tests, the times of human pilots having to manually remote-control drones may soon be a thing of the past. Whether that’s a good thing or not is another matter.


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