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Northrop Grumman has flown the US Navy's second of two X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrators at Edwards AFB in California. Air vehicle 2 completed the 29min flight on November 22.Photo: Northrop GrummanAir vehicle 1 (AV-1), which has completed 16 flights since taking to the air for the first time on February 4, has wrapped up envelope-expansion testing at Edwards and will now be shipped eastwards to NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, to begin the work-up for the aircraft-carrier demonstration, scheduled for 2013.AV-1 has cleared the envelope to 200kt airspeed and 15,000ft altitude*, without requiring any updates to the flight-control laws, says the Navy. This is sufficient for AV-1 to begin flying at Pax in the spring, while AV-2 continues flying at Edwards to expand the envelope to 230kt and 15,000ft ahead of the carrier demo.AV-1 will conduct "roll-out" catapult launches and arrested landings at Pax, where it will be joined by AV-2 later in 2012. After the carrier demo, AV-2 will be used for the planned automated aerial refueling flight-tests in 2014, demonstrating both Navy-style probe-and-drogue and Air Force-style boom-and-receptacle refueling.*NOTE - updated info from the Navy says AV-1 cleared the envelope to 15,000ft, not 7,500ft as I originally wrote.
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