Three days after leaving the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush on the first catapult launch, theX-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) returned to the carrier for a ‘touch and go’ landing trial, successfully testing the automatic landing system which integrates reference signals from the carrier deck and the drone’s avionics, conducting fully automatic approach and precision touchdown landing. On this landing test the drone touched down within the locations that would enable the tailhook to catch the arresting cables and slow the aircraft to a complete stop within the required parameters. After the test landing the aircraft returned to its shore-base at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. The aircraft is expected to conduct shore based arrested landings at Pax River in the coming months, before final carrier-based arrestments scheduled for later in 2013.
Capt. Jamie Engdahl, Program Manager for UAS program office at the U.S. Navy the X-47B will continue to demonstrate consistent, reliable and repeatable touch down on a moving carrier flight deck, “this precision relative navigation technology is key to ensuring future unmanned systems can operate off our aircraft carriers”.