Navy test replicates UAV landing on carrier

Shipboard and UAV networks integrated with Precision GPS

The first ever successful test of a carrier touchdown of an F/A-18D surrogate aircraft, replicating maneuvers of unmanned aerial vehicles, was completed on the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) by the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System program office (PMA-268) July 2, according to a Navy press release.

The fact that the Navy was able to launch and land the surrogate is an indication that it is getting closer “to demonstrating that a tailless, strike-fighter-sized unmanned system can operate safely in the carrier environment,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager of the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System.

The Navy has worked for more than five years to plan for and update the ship’s systems to read the UAV’s data, and also integrate both networks with Precision Global Positioning System, all in preparation for the 2013 goal of an “autonomous landing of an actual unmanned, low-observable relevant aircraft on the aircraft carrier,” according to Engdahl.

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