Navy accelerates unmanned aircraft tests

Although the Navy may be late coming to the world of unmanned aircraft systems, it is now pushing the limits of UAS technology from the standpoints of capability and autonomy, reports Graham Warwick at Aviation Week.

These objectives can be seen in the Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator  (UCAS-D) program, Autonomous Aerial Cargo/Utility System program and advanced capabilities for vertical-takeoff-and-landing UAS efforts.

For the UCAS-D program, the Navy plans to outfit more than one carrier to work with the X-47B for the difficult task of testing autonomous landings on an aircraft carrier, which is slated to begin in 2013.

The story describes the scope, objectives and timelines for Navy UAS programs and initiatives in this decade and beyond.

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