X-47B Accomplishes First Ever Carrier Touch and Go aboard CVN 77


Story Number: NNS130517-15Release Date: 5/17/2013 5:11:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brandon Vinson, USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) Public Affairs

USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) -- The Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) has begun touch and go landing operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 17.

For UCAS-D, this represents the most significant technology maturation of the program. Ship relative navigation and precision touchdown of the X-47B are critical technology elements for all future Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) aircraft.

Don Blottenberger, UCAS-D Deputy Program manager, commented, "This landing, rubber hitting deck, is extremely fulfilling for the team and is the culmination of years of relative navigation development. Now, we are set to demonstrate the final pieces of the demonstration."

Earlier in the week, the UCAS-D test team and CVN 77 worked together to successfully complete the first ever launch of an unmanned aircraft from an aircraft carrier proving the importance of introducing unmanned aviation into the already powerful arsenal of aircraft squadrons.

"We are proud to be a part of another historic first for Naval Aviation. The landing was spot-on and it's impressive to witness the evolution of the Carrier Air Wing," said Capt. Brian E. Luther, Commanding Officer USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)

The various launch and landing operations of the X-47B on the flight deck of George H. W. Bush signify historic events for naval aviation history. These demonstrations display the Navy's readiness to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation operations.

Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for Unmanned Combat Air Systems program office, said, "When we operate in a very dynamic and harsh carrier environment, we need networks and communication links that have high integrity and reliability to ensure mission success and provide precise navigation and placement of an unmanned vehicle."

"Today, we have demonstrated this with the X-47B, and we will continue to demonstrate, consistent, reliable, repeatable touch-down locations on a moving carrier flight deck," he continued. "This precision relative navigation technology is key to ensuring future unmanned systems can operate off our aircraft carriers."

The UCAS-D program plans to conduct shore-based arrested landings of the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before final carrier-based arrestments later in 2013.

George H.W. Bush is currently conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean, strengthening the Navy's forward operating and war fighting ability.

For more information on USS George H.W. Bush follow the ship's fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/USSGeorgeHWBush

For more information, visit www.navy.mil, www.facebook.com/usnavy, or www.twitter.com/usnavy .

For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/ .

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An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77).
130517-N-FU443-090 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 17, 2013) An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77). This is the first time any unmanned aircraft has completed a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Walter/Released)
May 17, 2013
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