Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Catapult X-47B From Carrier Into History Books

  Northrop Grumman, U.S. Navy Catapult X-47B From Carrier Into History Books

Event marks first catapult launch of an unmanned aircraft from a ship

PR Newswire


NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md., May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Northrop
Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) and the U.S. Navy today launched a new chapter
in the history of unmanned systems – carrier-capable unmanned aircraft – by
successfully catapulting the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS)
demonstrator from the deck of the USS George H.W. Bush  (CVN-77).


The launch occurred at 11:18 a.m. Eastern time while the carrier was under way
off the coast of Virginia. The tailless, strike-fighter-sized aircraft flew
autonomously back to Naval Air Station Patuxent River where it landed safely
65 minutes later.

Photos accompanying this release are available at Video is
also available on YouTube at and on Northrop
Grumman's site at

"Today's catapult launch of the X-47B is a momentous feat for naval aviation,"
said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager for the Naval Air Systems
Command. "It proves that the Navy's goal of operating unmanned systems safely
and effectively from aircraft carriers is well on its way to becoming a

Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the UCAS Carrier
Demonstration (UCAS-D) program. The company designed, produced and is
currently flight testing two X-47B air vehicles for the program. Air Vehicle 2
completed the catapult shot.

"Catapulting the unmanned X-47B off the USS George H.W. Bush is an event as
historic as the Navy's first catapult of a manned aircraft, which occurred in
Nov. 1915 from the armored cruiser USS North Carolina (ACR-12)," said Carl
Johnson, vice president and Navy UCAS program manager for Northrop Grumman.
"We are delighted to help launch this new era of naval capability."

The X-47B catapult launch occurred just one day after the USS George H.W. Bush
had departed from Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.

The current at-sea period is the second such test period for the UCAS-D
program. In December 2012, the program hoisted an X-47B aircraft aboard the
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), then demonstrated that the aircraft could be
maneuvered safely and precisely on the ship's flight deck, in its elevators
and in its hangar bay.

In preparation for the launch, the UCAS-D program successfully completed a
series of shore-based catapult shots at Naval Air Station Patuxent River
between November and March. The air vehicle was transported by barge from
Patuxent River to Naval Air Station Norfolk in early May, then hoisted aboard
the ship.

Northrop Grumman's UCAS-D industry team includes Pratt & Whitney, GKN
Aerospace, Eaton, GE Aviation, UTC Aerospace Systems, Dell, Honeywell, Moog,
Lockheed Martin, Wind River, Parker Aerospace and Rockwell Collins. The latest
news and information about the UCAS-D program can be found at

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative
systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cybersecurity, C4ISR, and
logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide.
Please visit for more information.

SOURCE Northrop Grumman Corporation

Contact: Cyndi Wegerbauer, +1-858-618-5323 (office), or +1-858-705-3280
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