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  • Out In The Open
    Posted by Guy Norris 10:29 AM on Dec 17, 2008

    The X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator - the US Navy's first tail-less, stealthy unmanned aircraft, was unveiled at Northrop Grumman’s Palmdale, Calif., site on Dec.16. The first air vehicle, AV-1, is scheduled to make its first flight on Nov.11 next year, while a second demonstrator AV-2 is being assembled, and will be completed around December 2009. Both will be used to demonstrate the viability of carrier operations with an unmanned combat aircraft, with the first X-47B carrier landing expected in November 2011.


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    The X-47B wing span is an impressive 62.1 ft, compared to 44.7 ft. for an F/A-18. Wings fold in to reduce overall span to 30.9 ft. for stowage.


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    Leading edge and engine inlet shaping for reduced radar cross section was performed with Lockheed Martin.


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    Built by GE Aerospace, the landing gear is built to current US Navy mil-standards. However, because of the expected precision landing capability of the autonomous UCAS, Northrop Grumman is optimistic that a lighter weight gear will be feasible on follow-on developments.

    (all photos. Guy Norris)

    Tags: ar99, X-47B, UCAS, Navy, Northrop Grumman

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