Navy to outfit an X-47B prototype with refueling gear

The Navy plans to add aerial refueling capability to one of its two prototype carrier-based X-47B unmanned aerial vehicles that are in the development stage, reports David Axe at Wired’s Danger Room blog.

By providing future X-47Bs with refueling capability, the Navy would substantially increase the range at which its aircraft carriers could strike land and sea targets, the blog states. The prototype would have the capability at some point in 2014.

“A carrier-based [Unmanned Combat Air System] with an unrefueled combat radius of 1,500 nautical miles or more and unconstrained by pilot physiology offers a significant boost in carrier combat capability,” said the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in a 2008 study.

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