Navy Progresses In Demonstrating Unmanned Refueling Capability | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 11.21.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 11.21.14 **
** Airborne 11.19.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 11.19.14 **
** Airborne 11.17.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 11.17.14 **

Wed, Jan 25, 2012

Navy Progresses In Demonstrating Unmanned Refueling Capability

System Under Development That Could Significantly Increase The Endurance And Range Of Carrier-Based Unmanned Aircraft

As part of the Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration (UCAS-D) program, the Navy and industry partner Northrop Grumman have been developing Autonomous Aerial Refueling (AAR) technologies to refuel unmanned aircraft in flight. The team completed a series of flight tests Jan.21 in St. Augustine, FL, as the latest step toward demonstrating unmanned AAR capability.

Image Provided By NAVAIR

“The AAR segment of the program is intended to demonstrate a system that will enable the X-47B UCAS-D to safely approach and maneuver around tanker aircraft, performing both Navy and Air Force style refueling techniques,” said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager.

The Navy has been working closely with the Air Force Research Lab for the past decade to develop technologies and operating concepts for AAR, Engdahl said. Both services share a common goal of enabling tankers to autonomously refuel manned and unmanned aircraft in the future, he added.

The UCAS-D team began this test phase in November when a team from Northrop Grumman installed X-47B hardware and software on a Calspan Learjet surrogate aircraft. The initial ground and taxi tests culminated in the first AAR test flight Dec. 20. The team then conducted a series of flights using the surrogate aircraft, equipped with X-47B software and hardware, and an Omega K-707 Tanker. The Learjet successfully completed multiple air-refueling test points autonomously while commanded by a ground operator.

The AAR segment of the UCAS-D program is designed to assess the initial functionality of the X-47B AAR systems and navigation performance, as well as to test the government tanker refueling interface systems. The AAR program is using similar command and control, and navigation processes being demonstrated by the UCAS team aboard the aircraft carrier. “The next big step for the program is to demonstrate this capability with the unmanned X-47B and actually plug the aircraft autonomously,” Engdahl said. “The AAR team did an exceptional job executing flight test in St. Augustine. The team’s' ability to successfully complete these test maneuvers so early in the program is a significant learning event and reduces risk for the future."
 
The team plans to conduct two more surrogate test periods before demonstrating refueling techniques on the X-47B in 2014. Data from the tests will be used to assess system performance, demonstrate viability of the AAR concept and develop operational procedures to support further development of future unmanned systems. "By adding an autonomous aerial refueling capability to unmanned aircraft, we can significantly increase their range, persistence and overall flexibility," added Engdahl, who said he is very impressed with the system’s performance. “This is a game-changer for naval aviation and is critical for our success with unmanned long range aircraft in the future.”

FMI: www.navair.navy.mil

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 11.21.14: AEA's 3Q/14 Report, Fantasy Of Flight, Modernizing The NAS

Also: Holland Wants Gold, FAA Strangling UAVs?, RAF WWII Trainer For Sale, Bf109s Live, Georgia v Aerospace Engineers The Aircraft Electronics Association has released its third-qu>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (11.23.14)

"Reaching this stage that we call ATLO is a critical milestone. This is a very satisfying point of the mission as we transition from many teams working on their individual elements>[...]

ANN FAQ: Getting The Most Out Of ANN's Newsletters

ANN goes through a lot of trouble to make the graphics flashy and cool and an integral part of the story. But let's face it, they're bandwidth-intensive. So here are a couple of th>[...]

Air Force Funds Research On Thermal Management Technology For Fighters

Heat Generated By Electronic Systems A Growing Challenge Managing heat that is generated by electronic subsystems in next-generation aircraft is a vexing challenge for aerospace sy>[...]

Raytheon Successfully Demonstrates Airborne Electronic Attack System

Prototype Test Flights Evaluate Integrated Electronic Warfare Capabilities The U.S. Navy and Raytheon successfully demonstrated an end to end, first of its kind, integrated electro>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC