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The X-47B on its first night flight carried out at Naval Air Station Patuxent River on Apr...

After taking to the air for the first time in early 2011, the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System has been ticking off a series of firsts, including being the first unmanned aircraft to launch and recovery from a modern aircraft carrier. Another box has now been ticked with the aircraft completing its first night flights.  Read More

The MQ-4C Triton test aircraft makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, Califo...

The Triton UAV's initial flight test program, which kicked off with the unmanned aircraft's first flight last May, has been completed. Now cleared to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights, the Triton is on track to be introduced into the US Navy fleet in 2017.  Read More

Gizmag looks at the top five aeronautical stories of 2013

It’s almost 2014 and time for a bit of aeronautical reflection as we look back at what records were broken, which new prizes were won, and what new technologies promise us a hypersonic, jet-packed future of aviation and innovation. So let’s have a glance at Gizmag’s pick of the top five aeronautical achievements of 2013.  Read More

The MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter's maiden flight lasted seven minutes (Photo: Alan...

The next-generation MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter has taken to the air for the first time at Naval Base Ventura County in California. Built by Northrop Grumman around a Bell 407 helicopter, the MQ-8C is designed to boast twice the endurance and three times the payload capacity of the MQ-8B variant that has clocked up over 5,000 flight hours in Afghanistan.  Read More

The X-47B making the first UAV arrested carrier landing

The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator put another page in the history books on Wednesday with its first unmanned arrested-wire carrier landing. The drone flew 35 minutes from Patuxent River Naval Air Station to the carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) off the coast of Virginia, where is landed at about 145 knots (167 mph, 268 km/h) with an arresting wire catching its tail hook and bringing it to a stop in 350 ft (107 m).  Read More

The Triton making its first flight (Photo: US Navy)

It’s been a busy month for UAVs with some launching from aircraft carriers and others saving lives. Now, the US Navy’s latest unmanned Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System, has taken to the skies. This Wednesday, the 47.6-foot (14.5-m) aircraft, powered by a Rolls-Royce AE 3007 turbofan engine, took off from Palmdale, California. It was under the control of Navy and Northrop Grumman personnel, as part of a series of tests to certify the system for fleet operations.  Read More

X-47B leaving the flight deck after a touch-and-go landing (Image: US Navy by Mass Communi...

On Friday May 17, the US Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator took another historic step as it conducted its first touch-and-go landings on the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia. This maneuver is a critical achievement in the Navy’s program to develop an autonomous, unmanned, jet-powered combat aircraft capable for operating from a carrier.  Read More

X-47B  flies over the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) (Photo: US  Navy cour...

Naval aviation history was made today, as an autonomous unmanned aircraft took off from a US Navy nuclear aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Virginia. The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D) took to the air from the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) and is part of a program to develop carrier-based unmanned combat aircraft capable of carrying out missions according to pre-programmed instructions rather than being under constant control by a ground-based pilot.  Read More

Preliminary sketch of the 'Pumpkin' ascent stage (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

There are so many private space ventures under development these days that it seems like you need a scorecard to keep track of them all. This week, Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that it has completed a feasibility study on a new lunar lander for the Golden Spike Company as part of a plan to send to people to the Moon within ten years at a cost of US$750 million per person.  Read More

The X-47B catching the arrester cable

The robot takeover came a step closer as Northrop Grumman and the US Navy carried out a successful carrier-style landing of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator. The test, which was carried out on Saturday at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, used a land-based version of an aircraft carrier cable-arrested landing system as the beginning of the final phase of testing prior to carrier-based trials planned for later this month.  Read More

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