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Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS-D

sferrin

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VH said:
It was that deck crew who made that history. Well done US Navy, well done
Pretty sure it was the plane.
 

Stargazer2006

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fightingirish said:
Why do I not wait a few minutes later, so I can post once instead of three times. :-[ ;)
No worries. We all do this at times! ::)
As a wise man once said, only those who do nothing never make any mistake... ;D ;)
 

VH

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sferrin said:
VH said:
It was that deck crew who made that history. Well done US Navy, well done
Pretty sure it was the plane.

Hate to disagree but it was the team who made the history. Team as in all the individuals involved. Have you ever worked on a program where you gave it your all? The bird was just the end product.
 

sferrin

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VH said:
sferrin said:
VH said:
It was that deck crew who made that history. Well done US Navy, well done
Pretty sure it was the plane.

Hate to disagree but it was the team who made the history. Team as in all the individuals involved. Have you ever worked on a program where you gave it your all? The bird was just the end product.
Yep, I have, and that's always the rah-rah, PC way to put it but it was the plane making history, not the team. We both have our opinions, does it really matter who's right or not?
 

Triton

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A strike platform to support the "Pivot to Asia"?

"The case for sea-based drones"
by David Axe
May 14, 2013

Source:
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/05/14/the-case-for-sea-based-drones/

If all goes according to plan, sometime on Tuesday the military balance of power in the Pacific Ocean could tilt to America’s advantage. The U.S. Navy’s main warships, whose firepower now cannot match the range of Chinese missiles, could gain a new weapon that more than levels the playing field.

It all boils down to a 62-foot-wide, hook-nosed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle built by Northrop Grumman. This new drone is set to launch off the 1,092-foot-long flight deck of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, known in Navy parlance as CVN-77 and until Tuesday morning docked at the sprawling naval base in Norfolk, Virginia.

The test launch of Northrop’s X-47B from one of the carrier’s steam-driven catapults, part of a roughly $1 billion development effort, could mark the first successful deployment of a modern, jet-powered drone from a ship – and is likely to bring the burgeoning era of military robots to the sea.

If it works, the X-47B and follow-on drones, which are devised to be armed with bombs and missiles, could nearly quadruple the striking range of the United States’ 10 nuclear-powered aircraft carriers – reversing a recent decline in the giant ships’ ability to do battle against a determined, high-tech foe.

Namely, China.

Final Countdown

“Shortly after CVN-77 gets underway,” Rear Admiral Mat Winter, the head of Navy drone development, wrote in a blog post on Monday, “our dedicated Navy and Northrop Grumman test team will launch the X-47B from the flight deck. Controlled by a mission operator aboard the ship, the X-47B will execute several carrier approaches, demonstrating its ability to operate seamlessly within the carrier environment.”

The drone is programmed to land at the naval air station in Patuxent River, Maryland. For the past two years, the Navy has been conducting ground tests there on a pair of X-47Bs – including takeoffs and landings and hands-off, autonomous flights controlled by automatic software.

The carrier launch is the first step in what are expected to be intensive at-sea tests. The Navy has designed these to provide the data it needs to build front-line versions of the X-47B or similar drones from competing aerospace manufacturers Boeing, Lockheed Martin or General Atomics. The Pentagon wants to be flying real-world robotic missions off carriers with live weapons as early as 2019.

By then the X-47B will be nearly 20 years old. Originally developed for use by the Navy and Air Force, the original X-47A model – smaller and less powerful than today’s seven-ton X-47B – was cancelled in 2006 when the Air Force lost interest. The Navy then asked Northrop to enlarge the diamond-shaped drone for a separate development program beginning in 2007. But the sailing branch’s support for the program wavered.

This changed after the so-called Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration program gained a major ally later that year. Bob Work, a retired Marine Corps artillery officer who had become a respected military analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment in Washington, co-wrote, with Thomas Ehrhard, an influential public study extolling the potential virtues of the drone, or UCAS, in combat.

The two men emphasized the UAV’s long range compared to the current generation of manned, carrier-launched warplanes. They also detailed the X-47B’s ability to avoid detection by enemy radars – largely due to its compact shape.

Noting that manned Hornet fighter-bombers, the Navy’s main carrier-launched fighter, must refuel after 450 miles, Work and Ehrhard pointed out that an X-47B or similar drone should be able to fly at least 1,500 miles on internal fuel, extending to 3,000 miles with in-air refueling, This is far more than even a refueled Hornet – owing to the limitations of the manned plane’s pilot.

Strategic Value

The ramifications of this longer striking range could be far-reaching, Work and Ehrhard contended. China possesses a new class of ballistic missile capable of striking ships at an estimated range of 1,000 miles – farther than the Hornet can fly. Without a long-range drone, the analysts warned, “U.S. carrier strike forces will be faced with a major land-based threat that outranges them.”

Time might also be a factor. As they explained, “A carrier at Pearl Harbor ordered to respond to a developing crisis in the Taiwan Strait could immediately set sail and launch a flight of UCASs.” The drones could reach Chinese airspace in 10 hours and remain there for another five hours, surviving and fighting “even in the face of advanced Chinese air defense systems” – thanks to their stealth qualities.

“The strategic value of that sort of responsiveness and reach would be incalculable,” Work and Ehrhard concluded.

Not only did the Navy ultimately agree and boost support for the X-47B, in 2009 Work joined the sailing branch as its new undersecretary. He was able to continue arguing for the new drone’s importance from inside the Pentagon.

Northrop steadily added more autonomy to the X-47B until it was nearly entirely robotic. “There is man in the loop,” explained Carl Johnson, a Northrop vice president, in a telephone interview. He was referring to operators on land or aboard a launching carrier who he said can “monitor and override autonomous systems” within the drone. Takeoff, landing and most of the X-47B’s flight are handled by software.

Work left the Navy in April to head the Center for a New American Security, a policy organization in Washington. He told Reuters he will be eagerly monitoring the X-47B’s takeoff on Tuesday. In particular, he will be looking to see whether the drone can maneuver alongside the other aircraft that routinely surround a carrier.

Work says he expects a smooth takeoff – and also continued strong Navy support for the drone program, particularly in light of improving air defenses in China and other rival nations. Since Work co-wrote his X-47B report, both Russia and China have unveiled new high-tech warplanes and missiles.

“Everybody is surprised at the pace and broad range of capabilities adversaries all over the world are pursuing,” Work said. “The case for unmanned systems coming off the carrier has accelerated.”

Assuming today’s launch is a success, it could be only a few years before UAVs like the X-47B routinely fly from the Navy’s carriers, giving the United States aerial advantage over the Pacific.
 

sferrin

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"If all goes according to plan, sometime on Tuesday the military balance of power in the Pacific Ocean could tilt to America’s advantage. The U.S. Navy’s main warships, whose firepower now cannot match the range of Chinese missiles, could gain a new weapon that more than levels the playing field."

I thought it interesting that so much stupidity could be packed into two sentences. Launching one test UCAV from a catapult does jack squat to the balance. Furthermore it's ALREADY tilted to America's advantage. Lastly, range of what Chinese missiles? The ballistic antiship boogieman that has yet to demonstrate that it can even hit a target at sea, let alone a moving one?

"By then the X-47B will be nearly 20 years old."

In 2019? Really? The X-47B rolled out in 2008.
 

Triton

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sferrin said:
I thought it interesting that so much stupidity could be packed into two sentences. Launching one test UCAV from a catapult does jack squat to the balance. Furthermore it's ALREADY tilted to America's advantage. Lastly, range of what Chinese missiles? The ballistic antiship boogieman that has yet to demonstrate that it can even hit a target at sea, let alone a moving one?
The United States Navy leadership believes that the DF-21D (CSS-5 Mod-4) Anti-ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) is a legitimate threat to Carrier Strike Groups. China has launched a series of satellites to support targeting the ASBM and is currently developing an over-the-horizon radar system to locate targets for the ASBM. In this case, I will defer to the United States Navy leadership.

sferrin said:
In 2019? Really? The X-47B rolled out in 2008.
The author is also counting the years of development for the Northrop Grumman X-47A Pegasus on which the Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS-D is based.
 

sferrin

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The author is also counting the years of development for the Northrop Grumman X-47A Pegasus on which the Northrop Grumman X-47B UCAS-D is based.


The only thing they have in common is the "X-47" in their names. The X-47B is effectively a new aircraft that will be just over a decade old in 2019. Not trying to be a pain in the backside but stupid crap like that in articles drives me nuts. There's no reason for it.
 

Triton

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sferrin said:
The only thing they have in common is the "X-47" in their names. The X-47B is effectively a new aircraft that will be just over a decade old in 2019. Not trying to be a pain in the backside but stupid crap like that in articles drives me nuts. There's no reason for it.
Authors also seem to forget that military systems take almost a decade to develop, receive upgrades, and regular maintenance. It annoys me as well because the twenty-years-old age number is meaningless. The X-47B isn't a computer or cellular telephone that is quickly obsolete.
 

quellish

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sferrin said:
The only thing they have in common is the "X-47" in their names.
The X-47A and X-47B (still) share a lot of software.
 

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sferrin said:
"If all goes according to plan, sometime on Tuesday the military balance of power in the Pacific Ocean could tilt to America’s advantage. The U.S. Navy’s main warships, whose firepower now cannot match the range of Chinese missiles, could gain a new weapon that more than levels the playing field."

I thought it interesting that so much stupidity could be packed into two sentences. Launching one test UCAV from a catapult does jack squat to the balance. Furthermore it's ALREADY tilted to America's advantage. Lastly, range of what Chinese missiles? The ballistic antiship boogieman that has yet to demonstrate that it can even hit a target at sea, let alone a moving one?

"By then the X-47B will be nearly 20 years old."

In 2019? Really? The X-47B rolled out in 2008.
Not to be off topic but there are some who want the US to abrogate the INF Treaty's limit on intermediate range missiles because it leaves us at a distinct disadvantage in the region as China has hundreds to our zero.

And in response to the "WE ALL DID IT TOGETHER" meme that is simply not the case of the sailors on the deck. There is being 'part of history' and 'making history' the plane 'made history'

And for the PC world out there I am not commenting on the courage or dedication to duty and country of the sailors.
 

VH

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sferrin said:
Yep, I have, and that's always the rah-rah, PC way to put it but it was the plane making history, not the team. We both have our opinions, does it really matter who's right or not?

Just to be sure could you elaborate on your statement about "the PC way to put it"? ? ? Your meaning is unclear.
 

bobbymike

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VH said:
sferrin said:
Yep, I have, and that's always the rah-rah, PC way to put it but it was the plane making history, not the team. We both have our opinions, does it really matter who's right or not?

Just to be sure could you elaborate on your statement about "the PC way to put it"? ? ? Your meaning is unclear.
Not to put words in sferrin's mouth - or on his keyboard in this case - the world has changed from 'Chuck Yeager breaks sound barrier' to 'Guy who served Chuck Yeager breakfast key to breaking sound barrier' PC meaning we need to make everyone no matter how tangential their relationship to the event FEEL GOOD about themselves.
 

BioLuminescentLamprey

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Yep. Everybody's got to feel "special" and everyone is a "winner". PC is irritating as hell, but often it only represents window dressing to avoid offending peoples sensitivities. In some ways it's a necessary adaptation to modern political life to be PC, but in others it represents dishonesty. In this case it's probably not so harmful. Let's say that those onlookers who were only tangentially involved were, "part of" history, rather than making it themselves. Definitely a day to remember for those sailors.


On another note, does anyone know how the UCLASS design will compare, sizewise, to the X-47B? I've got to say that I really also fancy the cranked kite design quite a bit. Kind of hoping for a Northrop win here.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
VH said:
sferrin said:
Yep, I have, and that's always the rah-rah, PC way to put it but it was the plane making history, not the team. We both have our opinions, does it really matter who's right or not?

Just to be sure could you elaborate on your statement about "the PC way to put it"? ? ? Your meaning is unclear.
Not to put words in sferrin's mouth - or on his keyboard in this case - the world has changed from 'Chuck Yeager breaks sound barrier' to 'Guy who served Chuck Yeager breakfast key to breaking sound barrier' PC meaning we need to make everyone no matter how tangential their relationship to the event FEEL GOOD about themselves.
This. Sure, everybody is aware it's a team that develops it but it's the aircraft that makes history.
 

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HELL'S BELLS - Just drop the hook and it's trapped! Good stuff!!! -SP
 

fightingirish

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Another video showing "X-47B UCAS-D Stealth Touch and Landing USS George H.W. Bush"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6-xni-shCs
 
I

Ian33

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July 10th the X47b is chalked in for its first arrested landing on its test carrier. Looking forward to seeing that!
 
I

Ian33

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Ian33 said:
July 10th the X47b is chalked in for its first arrested landing on its test carrier. Looking forward to seeing that!

B)


Thats an amazing day for the Northrop Grumman team and the USN. World first.






http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=75298


Look forward to the videos
 

AeroFranz

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It will be interesting to see how many 'three-wire' they can achieve. Although the ideal wire may be different for a UAV, who knows?
 

sublight is back

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As a Naval aviator says: "Now lets see it at night in bad weather and a pitching deck. That will be my last chance to salt dog the thing"....
 

sublight is back

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AeroFranz said:
It will be interesting to see how many 'three-wire' they can achieve. Although the ideal wire may be different for a UAV, who knows?
I bet it gets the 2 wire over 99 percent of the time.
 

sferrin

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sublight is back said:
AeroFranz said:
It will be interesting to see how many 'three-wire' they can achieve. Although the ideal wire may be different for a UAV, who knows?
I bet it gets the 2 wire over 99 percent of the time.
2 for 2 on the 3-wire so you're already wrong.
 

sublight is back

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sferrin said:
sublight is back said:
AeroFranz said:
It will be interesting to see how many 'three-wire' they can achieve. Although the ideal wire may be different for a UAV, who knows?
I bet it gets the 2 wire over 99 percent of the time.
2 for 2 on the 3-wire so you're already wrong.
I assumed they were going to always shoot for the 2 wire.....
 

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Do you think there are a few late night meeting of the 'brass' in China after this fantastic aviation landmark?

Or maybe they are just saying, "Hey is that the UCAV we got from our latest hack let's make a copy" :eek:
 

donnage99

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bobbymike said:
Do you think there are a few late night meeting of the 'brass' in China after this fantastic aviation landmark?

Or maybe they are just saying, "Hey is that the UCAV we got from our latest hack let's make a copy" :eek:
The x-47b landing on a carrier is long expected, not some sort of a surprise. It's a slow build up to this historic day with alot of press coverage from day 1. So it's not something of the sort "How did our intelligence overlook this? Call in an urgent meeting and some coffee while u at it"
 

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donnage99 said:
bobbymike said:
Do you think there are a few late night meeting of the 'brass' in China after this fantastic aviation landmark?

Or maybe they are just saying, "Hey is that the UCAV we got from our latest hack let's make a copy" :eek:
The x-47b landing on a carrier is long expected, not some sort of a surprise. It's a slow build up to this historic day with alot of press coverage from day 1. So it's not something of the sort "How did our intelligence overlook this? Call in an urgent meeting and some coffee while u at it"
Long expected and success rather than crashing into the deck is a big deal IMHO I imagined Chinese spies observing the landing ;D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvqJ1mTkEuY


No I don't think there were Chinese spies when they could just go to Youtube.
 

Triton

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Published on Jul 10, 2013

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first carrier-based arrested landing on board U.S.S. George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia July 10.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPaH8CCtRVU&feature=share&list=UUKuSaHewQKWjR2wFuqfkMEA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc2k6G8LuqY&feature=share&list=UUKuSaHewQKWjR2wFuqfkMEA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzKDCO9KuaI&feature=share&list=UUKuSaHewQKWjR2wFuqfkMEA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i5iYKSuzfc&feature=share&list=UUKuSaHewQKWjR2wFuqfkMEA
 

Triton

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Published on Jul 9, 2013

A musical revue of the historic first catapult of a U.S. Navy unmanned aircraft system from a carrier, May 2013.

http://youtu.be/dZ_XTt-O8gE
 

donnage99

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bobbymike said:
Long expected and success rather than crashing into the deck is a big deal IMHO I imagined Chinese spies observing the landing ;D
It's a big deal, that's why i said "historic." However, it's big deal, but it's well expected. It would create more of a surprise if it crashed.
 

fightingirish

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That musical revue is similar to the 'Top Gun' movie intro.
 

sferrin

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fightingirish said:
That musical revue is similar to the 'Top Gun' movie intro.
Should have been playing the Terminator 2 score. B)
 
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