AUVSI Program Review 2013: USS George H W Bush targeted as next carrier for X-47B at-sea trials
By Grace Jean
The US Navy's (USN's) newest Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will host the next at-sea trials of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System demonstrator (UCAS-D), an official announced on 13 February.
Rear Admiral Mathias Winter, the USN's programme executive officer for unmanned aircraft and strike weapons (PEO U&W), said that the X-47B is being prepared to go on board USS George H W Bush (CVN 77), the tenth and final Nimitz-class carrier, in the April to May timeframe, depending on carrier schedules and fall-out from the US budgetary crisis.
The Northrop Grumman-built autonomous aircraft completed its first at-sea tests in December 2012 on board USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75). During the two-week trial period, sailors directed the tail-less aircraft in taxiing trials on the flight deck and also handled the vehicle in the hangar bays.
Harry S Truman was scheduled to deploy to the US Central Command area of responsibility in the Gulf region earlier this month, but its departure was scrapped due to budgetary constraints. It will remain in Norfolk, Virginia, on standby ready to surge if necessary.178 of 464 words
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