November 21, 2017
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Milestone achieved
X-47B catapulted from aircraft carrier

Recently, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) completed its first ever carrier-based catapult launch from USS George HW Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia. The unmanned aircraft launch executed several planned low approaches to the carrier and safely transited across the Chesapeake Bay to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, after an approximately 65-minute flight.

Completing another important first for the UCAS-D program, the team demonstrated the ability to precisely navigate the X-47B within the controlled airspace around an aircraft carrier at sea and seamlessly pass control of the air vehicle from a “mission operator” aboard the carrier to one located in the Mission Test Control Center at NAS Patuxent River for landing.

Prior to the catapult launch, the UCAS test team also conducted deck-handling and ship-integration testing to demonstrate the capability to safely operate the X-47B in the dynamic, unforgiving environment of an aircraft carrier flight deck.

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