US Navy

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
The U.S. Navy took a step farther away from John Paul Jones and closer to James T. Kirk as it announced that a solid-state laser weapon will be deployed on a U.S. Navy ship in fiscal year 2014. The announcement that the Laser Weapon System (LaWS) will deployed on board USS Ponce (AFSB[I] 15) two years ahead of schedule was made on Monday at the Sea-Air-Space exposition, National Harbor, Maryland. The deployment is the latest in a line of recent recent high-energy laser demonstrations carried out by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Naval Sea Systems Command. Read More

The U.S. Navy is fitting Rolls Royce water jets to its Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). The new water jets can pump out half a million gallons (1.9 million liters) of high-density seawater per minute, pushing the LCS at over 40 knots (46 mph, 74 km/h) while providing more power for less weight. Read More

The Northrop Grumman X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator completed its first sea trials aboard the Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman this week. The unmanned aircraft was shipped aboard the Truman on November 26 and has been subjected to a wide variety of tests to see how the robotic vehicle operates on a warship. Read More
Northrop Grumman has delivered two X-47B Unmanned Combat Aircraft Systems (UCAS) to the US Navy, which has begun three weeks of tests aboard the USS Truman – the first aircraft carrier to host test operations for an unmanned aircraft. The X-47B is based on the Pegasus X-47A (originally designed in 2001) but features improved landing gear and folding wings for work aboard carriers. Read More
The X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator has taken yet another step on the path towards unmanned aircraft operating amongst piloted aircraft on a carrier deck with its first ever steam-powered catapult launch. While the inaugural launch was conducted on land at a shore-based catapult facility at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, it gives the team confidence as it progresses towards a planned launch from a carrier next year. Read More
With around 430 gas-turbine engines on 129 of its ships burning about US$2 billion worth of fuel every year, the U.S. Navy is examining the potential of using Rotating Detonation Engines (RDEs) to improve fuel consumption and cut costs. Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) estimate that retrofitting RDEs to its fleet could save the Navy approximately 300 to 400 million dollars a year. Read More
Back in February, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) test-fired a prototype electromagnetic railgun that had been built by BAE Systems for the U.S. Navy. BAE isn’t the only game in town, however – this Tuesday, ONR announced that it is now evaluating a second railgun prototype, made by San Diego-based General Atomics. Read More
Tell someone that you’ve invented a car that runs on water and they're liable to report you for fraud. That hasn’t stopped scientists and engineers at the U.S.. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) who want to run warships on seawater - or at least, to turn seawater into jet fuel. This may sound like they’ve been standing too close to the ether again, but the idea is to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and then convert these into jet fuel by a gas-to-liquids process. If this proves practical, American naval vessels could refuel themselves at sea. Read More

Lockheed Martin has hinted at plans for a new UAV carrier combat aircraft, known as the UCLASS Sea Ghost. This makes the American defense contractor the fourth contender for the U.S. Navy’s unmanned carrier combat aircraft contract, joining Northrop’s X-47B, Boeing’s Phantom Ray and General Atomic’s Sea Avenger. Read More