2013年7月16日火曜日

X47B 空母着艦成功

X47Bは空母への着艦に成功した。
 米軍の無人ステルス攻撃機の実証試験機「X47B」が、空母への着艦試験
に初めて成功した。X47Bは、発艦試験も成功させており、空母での運用
能力を証明した形になった。

X47B
・MD州Tuxent River 海軍航空基地から離陸。
・35分後にVA州沖の空母USS George H. W. Bushへ着艦。
 着艦時、Tailhookがアレスティングワイヤを捕捉し、減速、停止。
・同艦からカタパルト射出で発進し、2回目の着艦。
・基地から空母までは、GPS航行。
・デジタル通信にて、空母から速度、横風等の情報を得た。

UAVの多くは、人間による遠隔操作だが、X47Bは、プログラムによるとの
こと。リアルタイムで、プログラム変更が可能な設計のようだ。

いくつかのUAVは、電波ジャックができる説もあり、X47Bもいつかその中
に含まれるかもしれない。RQ-170対X47Bような対決になればゲームと変わ
らないだろう。

X47Bの飛行前検査は、操縦士が機体の外観を見て目視検査はなく、地上
要員が担当し、報告しているようだ。プログラムされているとは言え、
離着陸指示は、遠隔操縦ではないのだろうか。

X47Bも艦載機として数えられるのか。

米海軍 X-47B導入
X47B 初飛行成功
イラン RQ170複製へ
X47B Catapult Launch at Air Carrier


X-47B Completes First Carrier-based Arrested Landing


X-47B Completes First Carrier-based Arrested Landing (2)


X-47B Completes First and Second Carrier-based Arrested Landings


---無人機の着艦試験、初成功=空母での運用能力実証-米軍---
2013/07/11-08:27
http://www.jiji.com/jc/c?g=int_30&k=2013071100127

 【ワシントン時事】米軍の無人ステルス攻撃機の実証試験機「X47B」が10日、空母への着艦試験に初めて成功した。X47Bは今年5月、発艦試験も成功させており、空母での運用能力を証明した形になった。
 X47Bは南部バージニア州沖の空母「ジョージ・H・W・ブッシュ」とデータをやりとりしながら、気象条件を計算して進入速度などを調整。飛行甲板上に設置されたワイヤを利用して着艦した。


---Hooked! X-47B comes in for a carrier landing---
by Jonathan Skillings
July 10, 2013 11:39 AM PDT
http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57593075-76/hooked-x-47b-comes-in-for-a-carrier-landing/

Don't try this with your backyard drone. The X-47B has made its first arrested landing on an aircraft carrier, and the world of unmanned aircraft may never be the same.

The X-47B has landed -- and that's some big news.

The tailless Northrop Grumman-built drone made a historic arrested landing on an aircraft carrier at sea on Wednesday, the U.S. Navy tweeted just a little bit ago, presaging a new era for the use of unmanned aircraft in military operations.

Aircraft landings on a carrier are a tricky endeavor even for experienced pilots, as the ship's flight deck -- not exactly spacious to start with, and crowded with planes, people, and gear -- rises, falls, and sways with the ocean waves. Today's landing brought a new wrinkle: the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) is designed to fly largely on its own, with no pilot aboard and with minimal intervention from shipboard operators.

To stop their forward momentum in the shortest distance possible, carrier aircraft have a hook on the underside of the fuselage that latches onto cables stretched across the flight deck. The X-47B had practiced arrested landings on dry land earlier this year.

Today's precision landing was the latest, and perhaps the most significant, milestone for the X-47B, a technology demonstrator -- actually, there are two of them -- that the Navy and Northrop Grumman have been trying out step by carefully measured step over the last several years.

"It isn't very often you get a glimpse of the future. Today, those of us aboard USS George H.W. Bush got that chance," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in a statement. "The operational unmanned aircraft soon to be developed have the opportunity to radically change the way presence and combat power are delivered from our aircraft carriers."

On Wednesday, the X-47B made a 35-minute flight from the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Md., to the carrier, where upon landing it caught the 3 wire with its tailhook and came to a dead stop from a speed of approximately 145 knots in less than 350 feet, according to the Navy. After the first landing, it was launched from the Bush's catapult and then made a second arrested landing.

In May, the X-47B made its first-ever catapult launch, taking off from the USS George H.W. Bush for a 65-minute flight, and in the ensuing days the aircraft made nine touch-and-go landing maneuvers on the carrier.

The jet-powered X-47B has a wingspan of 62 feet, about 17 feet wider than the Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet (though it's about 22 feet shorter from nose to tail), and it weighs in at about 44,000 pounds. It has a top speed in the "high subsonic" range, a ceiling of 40,000 feet, and a range of about 2,100 nautical miles.

The Navy has described it as "strike fighter-sized," and with "combat" as a key part of the UCAS acronym and with a weapons bay as part of the design, you'd be tempted to think that the X-47B is this close to flying into a hot zone. Not so. Though there's likely some testing left to be done -- including, perhaps, automated drone-to-drone refueling in 2014 -- the X-47B is but an experimental precursor to actual production models of a design that's yet to be determined.

That phase of things could get under way later this year as the Navy heads into the early stages of its UCLASS ("unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike") program, for which the X-47B will surely be a contender, along with competing pitches from other defense and drone heavyweights including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Predator maker General Atomics.


---Navy drone X-47B lands on carrier deck in historic first---
By W.J. Hennigan
July 10, 2013, 11:16 a.m.
http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-navy-drone-x47b-20130709,0,6990478.story

The U.S. Navy conducted a historic flight test Wednesday off the coast of Virginia when an experimental bat-winged drone made an arrested landing aboard an aircraft carrier for the first time.

The flight of the drone, dubbed X-47B, could redefine naval aviation.

Landing on an aircraft carrier as it plies the ocean and pitches with the waves is considered an extremely difficult feat for even the most seasoned pilot. The X-47B was controlled almost entirely by computer.

"By evolving and integrating new technology like the X-47B and the unmanned aircraft to follow, carriers will remain relevant throughout their 50-year lifespan," Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said in a statement.

The X-47B, built by Northrop Grumman Corp., was launched from the deck Wednesday morning. The drone safely flew above the Atlantic Ocean came in for a landing on aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia.

Relying on pinpoint GPS coordinates and advanced avionics, the sleek drone digitally communicated with the carrier's computers to determine speed, crosswinds and other data as it approaches from miles away.

Then shortly before 1:45 p.m. Eastern time it hit the flight deck and hooked the arresting wire for a safe landing.

[Updated, 11:45 a.m. PDT July 10: The Navy announced that 45 minutes after the first landing, the drone completed a second successful landing on the carrier.]

The test was seen as a milestone in drone technology and the program, which has been eight years in the making.

Currently, combat drones are controlled remotely by a human pilot. But the X-47B is designed to carry out a combat mission controlled almost entirely by a computer. A human pilot would design its flight path and send it on its way; a computer program would guide it from a ship to the target and back.

What also sets this drone apart from most of today's combat drones is that it is stealthy and jet-powered.

The X-47B, which resembles a miniature B-2 stealth bomber, has a 62-foot wingspan and can fly higher than 40,000 feet. It has a range of more than 2,400 miles and can reach high subsonic speeds. The Navy has nicknamed it "Salty Dog 502."

The drone is designed to fly farther and stay in the air longer than existing aircraft because it does not depend on a human pilot's endurance. Navy fighter pilots may fly missions that last as long as 10 hours. Current drones can fly for three times that long.

The X-47B is an experimental jet -- that's what the X stands for -- and is designed to demonstrate new technology, such as automated takeoffs, landings and refueling. The drone also has a weapons bay with a payload capacity of 4,500 pounds, but the Navy said it has no plans to arm the aircraft.

The first X-47B had its maiden flight from Edwards Air Force Base in 2011, where it continued testing until last year when it was trucked from the Mojave Desert to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland.

The drone's design was so startling that motorists passing it by on the highway thought it was a UFO.

Over the last year, the Navy conducted shore-based catapults at Patuxent. It also conducted deck-handling and ship-integration testing to demonstrate the capability to safely operate the X-47B on an aircraft carrier flight deck.

In May the drone had its first carrier-catapulted flight.

There were two X-47Bs developed and built under a contract that has escalated to $1.4 billion. Both were constructed behind barbed-wire fences and double security doors at Northrop's expansive facility in Palmdale.

Much of the drone's design work was completed at the company's facilities in El Segundo and Rancho Bernardo.

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