The first shore-based trials of the Control Display Unit (CDU) that wirelessly controls the X-47B on the ground (Photo: Northrop Grumman)
The CDU is operated by a deck operator who follows hand signals given by the flight deck director (Photo: Northrop Grumman)
While impressive, unmanned flight is just one of the capabilities required of the Northrop Grumman-built X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) if it is to enter service with the U.S. Navy. Prior to and after any flights, the aircraft also needs to be safely maneuvered around the crowded deck of an aircraft carrier. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have taken the first step towards this with the demonstration of a wireless, handheld device that will allow deck operators to remotely control the aircraft on a carrier deck.
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