On the first steam-catapult launch, the X-47B reached 147.6 kt ground speed and 151.3 kt airspeed at launch, says Mike Mackey, Northrop Grumman UCAS-D program manager. On climb-out the aircraft reached 12.5-deg. peak pitch, with nominal loads, he says.
The unmanned aircraft reached 1,200-ft. altitude during its 10-min. autonomous flight and flew a standard carrier precision-approach pattern, Mackey says, flying a 3.25-deg. glideslope to a landing rollout and full stop on the runway at Pax River.
Blottenberger says there is an option to fly AV-1 into the carrier-controlled airspace around the Truman while it is at sea, conducting deck-handling trials with AV-2. The carrier to be used for the 2013 launch and recovery demonstration has not been identified.
All of the Navy’s East Coast-based Nimitz-class carriers are being modified temporarily to operate with the X-47B, Engdahl says. This includes installing a mission control element, relative navigation system and data links.