Robo-apocalypse scenario or the film «Invisible» was another step closer to reality thanks to the efforts of professionals and Northrop Grumman U.S. Navy who taught drone X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) to make independent landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. First test landing was made on May 4 at the airport Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. During the landing runway was deployed cable landing system used on the decks of aircraft carriers. After committing a few landings at the airport drone X-47B, presumably at the end of this month, will begin test flights with takeoff and landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier real.
Landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier is one of the more complex maneuvers that pilots have to make naval aviation. Even quite experienced pilots have to «sweat», taking into account the huge number of reasons, landing combat vehicle, worth millions of dollars, flying at a speed of hundreds of miles per hour, on the flight deck, which looks from a height no more chocolate bars. And if the pilots make such a landing, based on their own experience and intuition, the control system of the UAV will have a real-time count anew all the characteristics of landing in order to end the drone is not turned into a pile of twisted debris sverhtehnologichny.
Test landing, which made drone X-47B on May 4 was performed using a cable brake system that allows high-speed aircraft to make a non-hazardous landing on the deck of a small aircraft carrier. During planting machine produces custom hook that clings to a flexible cable stretched across the flight deck, which is fixed at the ends of the heavy load. Cable with a load absorb the kinetic energy of the aircraft, allowing it to rapidly the brakes. In the case of X-47B landing vtochnosti same system was installed on the runway of the aerodrome, and in the process of landing and worked out verification algorithms work management system and navigation, which allows you to act on the drone hundred percent offline.
Conducted landing was the culmination of a three-month flight test programs from drone X-47B, which was carried out on land. This program included a clear approaches, ordinary landing on the strip and other elements of flights. «Unmanned Aircraft X-47B makes all maneuvers precisely because it was predicted by computer modeling and simulation, we conducted earlier in the programs from UCAS-D. UAV takes off, flies and lands, deviating only a couple of feet from the calculated line of motion » — Says Carl Johnson (Carl Johnson), watching programs from UCAS.
In accordance with the contract, the company Northrop Grumman has made two experienced reference drone X-47B. Although the X-47B drone and call, it is not so in the classical realization of the term. The vast majority of modern drones remotely controlled by the operator, and the X-47B is fully automatic aircraft performing a set of previously laid him instructions.
Drone X-47B is not intended for any role in the fighting. For this he can not accommodate some weapons systems, sensors and cameras for reconnaissance and surveillance. The purpose of creation is to develop UAV technologies, including takeoff, perform different tasks at a distance of 100 km from the base, return, refuel, landing and other techniques that will then be applied in the development of truly fighting unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
As mentioned above, will soon begin test flights during which the X-47B drone will make independent takeoff and landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. A technique of automatic testing of in-flight refueling is planned for 2014.