Video: Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Aircraft Flies
Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, the tailless, strike-fighter-sized unmanned system, the X-47B, under development by Northrop Grumman, completed its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California. The flying wing took off at 2:09 p.m. PST and flew for 29 minutes. The UAV climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, flew several racetrack-type patterns, and landed safely at 2:38 p.m. Northrop says the flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design. The aircraft will remain at Edwards AFB for flight envelope expansion before moving its test program to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., later in 2011. There, the system will undergo tests to validate its readiness to begin testing in the maritime and carrier environment. The X-47 is being prepared for carrier trials in 2013.