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X-47B Carier Landings  
User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Posted (11 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 9611 times:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeJ_qzt6pEk

Touch and go for now. Full on trap landings in a few weeks. From what I was reading before, the software used to land the X-47B on carriers has been extensively tested and developed using manned F-18s. F-18s have made many autonomous carrier trap landings with the pilot observing.

This drone is mostly autonomous, in that there is no pilot hand flying the plane, as many current drones are. The Navy drone is more advanced in that it autonomously performs the tasks it is ordered to perform, similar to a manned plane.

40 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinespink From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 317 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (11 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 9554 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Thread starter):
Touch and go for now. Full on trap landings in a few weeks. From what I was reading before, the software used to land the X-47B on carriers has been extensively tested and developed using manned F-18s. F-18s have made many autonomous carrier trap landings with the pilot observing.

This drone is mostly autonomous, in that there is no pilot hand flying the plane, as many current drones are. The Navy drone is more advanced in that it autonomously performs the tasks it is ordered to perform, similar to a manned plane.

Yep, Boeing had done/is doing a lot of work in increasing the autonomy of drones as part of its drone strategy and as part of the original government contracts that spawned the X-45/47, NG got access to all of this development for the X-47. It contributed a lot to the disagreements between Boeing and the US Navy since from Boeing perspective they were basically helping out one of their primary competitors but getting nothing in return.

A while back there was a documentary on the Boeing software infrastructure that is being used by X45/Phantom Ray and it was pretty impressive. You could setup whole missions in it, tell it to taxi to runway and hold for auth, give it auth and it would just go. No pilot control required. Give it landing auth on return and taxiways and it would just do it. The software also has plane to plane capacity so that multiple X-45s can flaw in tight formation and communicate movements with each other.


User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5254 posts, RR: 8
Reply 2, posted (11 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 9363 times:

Quoting spink (Reply 1):
Yep, Boeing had done/is doing a lot of work in increasing the autonomy of drones as part of its drone strategy and as part of the original government contracts that spawned the X-45/47, NG got access to all of this development for the X-47. It contributed a lot to the disagreements between Boeing and the US Navy since from Boeing perspective they were basically helping out one of their primary competitors but getting nothing in return

Well that is the nature of government contracting, if the government pays you to develop a technology they own the tech and everything else. And this ownership goes very deep into current military technology as they have been funding things for many many years and development cycles. It's not NG's not is it Boeing's, it belongs to and in owned by the USG.

The contractors go into these bids and contracts knowing this but understand that normally the incumbent has the inside track because they did develop it and have the manufacturing expertise and know the quirks etc., but quite often it just goes out to bid all over again. NG is no slouch when it comes to UAVS so there is little to no loss of skill or expertise awarding it to them and they apparently presented the better/cheaper/more capable system.

Tugg



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User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6482 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 7841 times:

The X-47B successfully landed today:

http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.as..._source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

The project is now officially concluded.



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User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 7750 times:

That's good news. On to the UCLASS phase.

The Navy plans to deploy an initial Uclass capability at the end of the TD phase—a single squadron of 4-6 aircraft on a carrier. “It's a hybrid program, which is a challenge. There will be additional development after initial deployment,” he says. Deployment is expected 3-6 years after contract award—but before 2020—a wide date range “the Navy has not explained precisely,” Ruszkowski notes.

http://www.aviationweek.com/Article....l/AW_06_24_2013_p44-588836.xml&p=2


User currently offlineseachaz From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 220 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 7681 times:

Navy has a several videos up now:

Trap 1 view 1
Trap 1 view 2
Trap 2
Trap 1 and 2 helicopter view

[Edited 2013-07-10 16:44:26]

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 7666 times:

Quoting seachaz (Reply 5):
Navy has a several videos up now:

Trap 1 view 1
Trap 1 view 2
Trap 2
Trap 1 and 2 helicopter view

Great videos. I'm looking forward to the next step.


User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2090 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 7666 times:

Very cool. Hopefully pilots will always have a role to play flying manned aircraft off of carriers and land bases, but the mix of drones in there is inevitable.

On a side note, it just struck me as odd seeing 4 C-2 Greyhounds topside, or at all on 1 carrier. Do they normally have 4 COD planes on a CVN? Maybe the extras are there supporting the UAV with equipment/techs/etc.?

Btw thanks for sharing the videos seachaz, very nice!



Quoting seachaz (Reply 5):
Navy has a several videos up now:

Trap 1 view 1
Trap 1 view 2
Trap 2
Trap 1 and 2 helicopter view



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User currently offlinezanl188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3434 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7643 times:
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Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 7):
On a side note, it just struck me as odd seeing 4 C-2 Greyhounds topside, or at all on 1 carrier. Do they normally have 4 COD planes on a CVN? Maybe the extras are there supporting the UAV with equipment/techs/etc.?

Probably no air wing aboard & are doing carrier qualifications when they're not launching and recovering drones.



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User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 9, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 7642 times:

Landing speed looks high to me. Maybe future versions will have more high lift devices?? They did two landings and I assume 2 launches.

If the UCLASS will have a minimum of 12 hours loiter time, large operating radius and 4,000lbs+ weapons payload - they'll soon become indispensable.


User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 7601 times:

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 9):
If the UCLASS will have a minimum of 12 hours loiter time, large operating radius and 4,000lbs+ weapons payload - they'll soon become indispensable.

A limited release of the KPPs for UCLASS is available. http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/navy...s-minimum-ranges-and-maximum-costs

The interesting things to note are the primary requirement for ISR, limited secondary strike requirement in lightly contested environments and a small weapon payload. While the overall payload is 3,000lbs only 1,000lbs will be weapons.

The Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS) so-called key performance perimeters (KPPs) outline an aircraft that will primarily fill information, reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting (ISRT) roles for the service’s carrier strike group with a limited ability to strike targets at a range of 2,000 nautical miles from the strike group in lightly contested environments, according to the documents.

Our primary use for this asset is organic persistent ISR which the strike group doesn’t possess right now — especially at the range and speed that this thing will be able to execute,” Cmdr. Pete Yelle with OPNAV told USNI News on Monday.

The KPPs call for an aircraft that can field a 3,000 pounds worth of payload, including a 1,000 pounds of air-to-surface weapons — including the 500 pound Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Small Diameter Bomb II.


The cost is the big kicker, with a max unit price of US$150 million per copy.

The unit cost for the aircrafts, less research and development and operations and maintenance cost (known as recurring flyaway cost), “required to conduct a 600 nautical mile persistent orbit shall not exceed $150 million,” read the UCLASS KPP.

[Edited 2013-07-10 19:10:47]

User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 900 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 7576 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 6):
Great videos. I'm looking forward to the next step.

Next step for the X-47B is museums.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 10):
The cost is the big kicker, with a max unit price of US$150 million per copy.

I cant see a UCAV being more than $100m a copy, unless you roll development costs into airframe cost. Jets are not new, naval aviation is not new, stealth is not new... really it comes down to developing operating procedure and software.

Say Lockheed develops a modified F-35 design with no pilot, full UCAV, maybe tailless (same idea as the X-44 manta). Common hardware to the F-35, same stealth tech. I would bet the only thing keeping the F-35 from being a UCAV is software. If you remove the provisions for a pilot, and maybe refine the airframe shape with the lack of need for a STOVL model... it would be a potent system. Just use as many off the shelf F-35 parts as possible.

[Edited 2013-07-10 20:09:12]

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 7561 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
I cant see a UCAV being more than $100m a copy, unless you roll development costs into airframe cost. Jets are not new, naval aviation is not new, stealth is not new... really it comes down to developing operating procedure and software.

Pretty sure the $150 mill would include the ground station components, which are hidden costs associated with these types of UAVs.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
Just use as many off the shelf F-35 parts as possible.

In a similar vein to the LRSB, which will reportedly use the F-135, the EODAS, Stealth coatings etc. Good idea and certainly save on development and must be cheaper to produce given existing F-35 production but I am not convinced.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 11):
Say Lockheed develops a modified F-35 design with no pilot, full UCAV, maybe tailless (same idea as the X-44 manta). Common hardware to the F-35, same stealth tech. I would bet the only thing keeping the F-35 from being a UCAV is software. If you remove the provisions for a pilot, and maybe refine the airframe shape with the lack of need for a STOVL model

Probably not ideal for long loiter time. UCLASS won't ever go supersonic and probably needs larger and higher aspect wings to give the loiter time and greater fuel storage. You wouldn't need as expansive a bomb bay given the low munitions requirement and I would also expect a similar satcom antenna to Global hawk.

Could certainly reuse the stealth tech although the stealth requirement apparently isn't as low as the F-35, http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/uclass-by-the-numbers

While not stealthy at the same level of the B-2 Spirit bomber or the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter, the Navy wants UCLASS to have some low observable characteristics — enough to allow it to perform strike missions in lightly contested areas. In high-end conflicts, UCLASS will provide sensor and targeting data to neighboring aircraft and ships

Even the F-135 is probably overkill, too much power for such a small airframe. Perhaps a higher bypass F414?


User currently offlinechecksixx From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1071 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (9 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 7528 times:

Quoting HaveBlue (Reply 7):
On a side note, it just struck me as odd seeing 4 C-2 Greyhounds topside, or at all on 1 carrier. Do they normally have 4 COD planes on a CVN? Maybe the extras are there supporting the UAV with equipment/techs/etc.?

If you look closely the island is loaded with people...


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 900 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (9 months 1 week 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 7288 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 12):
Pretty sure the $150 mill would include the ground station components, which are hidden costs associated with these types of UAVs.

Perhaps, but that is pretty much the same as the F-35 haters rolling facility upgrades from the next 30 years into unit costs. It is needed, but considering the level of autonomy of these units... it will not be like a Global hawk or Reaper with hands on piloting, it will be satellite communications, uploaded missions, and a guy with a remote control steering it around the flight deck. Sure there will be associated system costs, but not as big as the UAVs.

Quoting Ozair (Reply 12):
In a similar vein to the LRSB, which will reportedly use the F-135, the EODAS, Stealth coatings etc.

Concepts seem familure...



Quoting Ozair (Reply 12):
UCLASS won't ever go supersonic and probably needs larger and higher aspect wings to give the loiter time and greater fuel storage.

Maybe something based on the F-35Cs larger wingspan. Slimmed body... some shapes and systems in common, maybe same landing gear... etc. Pretty much the F-117 mentality, use as much off the shelf as possible. Development is killing the F-35. Every piece of gear they dont have to design from scratch is money saved.

When I say based... I use the term loosely.

A high bypass F414 would be great, just from a commonality standpoint.


User currently offlinetommytoyz From Tonga, joined Jan 2007, 1353 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (9 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7140 times:

$150 Mill is the MAX price mentioned in the KPP, not necessarily THE price the contractors will be able to offer.

User currently offlineOzair From Australia, joined Jan 2005, 790 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (9 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 7119 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 14):
it will not be like a Global hawk or Reaper with hands on piloting, it will be satellite communications, uploaded missions,

Its still going to have to feed all that info to the ship, the ISR payload steered by aircrew sitting in the carrier, the ISR feed interpreted by the analysts on the ship and then given commands for subsequent tasks. On strike missions there will be total control of the vehicle before, during and after weapon release.

Alternatively, the US Navy set up a facility similar to the Reaper facilities in Las Vegas, but I don't think this would be the optimum solution.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 14):
Concepts seem familure...

Nice image, I hadn't seen that one before.

Quoting Oroka (Reply 14):
When I say based... I use the term loosely.

Sure, I understand. My standpoint is to reuse as much tech as possible from F-35 but optimize the airframe to the mission, which probably means a new design, with hopefully, most of the development costs spent on the airframe.

But you may be right. If the Navy wants the UCLASS capability on a carrier deck and in service by 2020 they are going to have to accept some compromises including a very short development time.

Quoting tommytoyz (Reply 15):
$150 Mill is the MAX price mentioned in the KPP, not necessarily THE price the contractors will be able to offer.

Indeed, hence why I said,

Quoting Ozair (Reply 10):
with a max unit price of US$150 million per copy.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (9 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6943 times:

Quoting Ozair (Reply 10):
A limited release of the KPPs for UCLASS is available. http://news.usni.org/2013/06/26/navy...costs

This seems like the internal USN battle over the capabilities have been decided:

THE HOOK Winter 2012 (page 6)
Washington Report: Unmanned Systems On Board Aircraft Carriers by Sandra I. Erwin

Quote:
The Navy told contractors to anticipate a draft request for proposals in 2013, although there is speculation that the project might be delayed due to budget cuts, and also because the Navy has yet to settle on what type of aircraft it wants. The Navy is internally divided over UCLASS, according to a senior official who spoke at a private industry meeting. One camp wants an X-47-like deep penetrating “son of A-12” high-end aircraft. The other favors a lower-end “son of S-3” long-endurance vehicle that would cost less and would not be as technologically complex. It is no secret that this is a battle that has gone on inside the Navy and across the Defense Department."
http://www.tailhook.net/PDF/Hook_Magazines/8.Winter2012.pdf

It would appear that the Navy is interested in a lower-end solution according to the payload requirements.


User currently offlineOroka From Canada, joined Dec 2006, 900 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (9 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 6918 times:

I would think a low end option would work well with something manned and stealth hanging back calling the shots. Imagine a B-2 with 2 pilots and 2 UCLASS operators monitoring a unmanned strike package.

Perhaps a hi/lo mix with some units acting as bomb trucks, the rest as fighter support, all marshalled from the B-2. Imagine the fight of a group of UCLASS light bombers and air superiority fighters all working in perfect unison against a foe.


User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1556 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (9 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 6508 times:

Update on the testing: They did not manage to complete the requested 3 test landings. They only managed 2 out of 4 attempts:
http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...-fails-fourth-trap-attempt-388369/

Quote:
The US Navy confirms that a Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system-demonstrator (UCAS-D) aircraft aborted its final attempt at an arrested landing on the aircraft carrier USS George H W Bush on 15 July, 2013. The aircraft had successfully recovered onboard the giant vessel twice before, but failed to do so on its third or fourth attempts.

"Aircraft 'Salty Dog 501' was launched to the ship on July 15 to collect additional shipboard landing data," the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) says. "During the flight, the aircraft experienced a minor test instrumentation issue and returned to NAS Patuxent River [Maryland], where it safely landed."

The unsuccessful fourth attempt means that the UCAS-D programme will not be able to complete its stated goal of making a minimum of three successful "traps" onboard a carrier. The X-47B made two successful traps on the Bush on 10 July, but a third attempt that day failed when aircraft "Salty Dog 502" self-detected a navigation computer anomaly that forced it to divert to Wallops Island Air Field, Virginia.

"There were no additional opportunities for testing aboard CVN 77, which returned to port today," NAVAIR says. "This was the final at sea period for UCAS-D. The objective of the demonstration was to complete a carrier landing. The programme met their objective."

NAVAIR UCAS-D programme manager Capt Jaime Engdahl says, "We accomplished the vast majority of our carrier demonstration objectives during our 11 days at sea aboard CVN 77 in May."

With the UCAS-D carrier arrested recovery testing complete, the two X-47B demonstrators are expected to be retired to museums in Maryland and Florida in the near future. The next navy carrier-borne unmanned aircraft will come in the form of the service's Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike aircraft.

Oh well, but they came close and gathered very valuable data for the future. But it is demonstrable success, considering that the X-47B had the exact same tail hook issue as the F-35C did; the USN was at fault for providing both Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin incorrect wire dynamics models, with necessitated a number of tail hook redesigns for the X-47B.


User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 20, posted (9 months 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 6359 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 19):
Update on the testing: They did not manage to complete the requested 3 test landings. They only managed 2 out of 4 attempts:

Also reported in current AIR International, which had a feature article on the X-47B. Notwithstanding the missed traps, this is an impressive technical achievement, both in terms of autonomy and the ability to link with carrier nav and approach aids. It's also evident that there are built-in 'safe' modes in the case of a missed approach.

Question I have is that it appears as though the launches and traps were in a calm sea. I am wondering how it would perform in SS2 or 3, for example.

I realise this is a proof of concept program, but it would seem that some type of UCLASS-type vehicle will be part of the CAW going forward.



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3212 posts, RR: 26
Reply 21, posted (9 months 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6320 times:
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Quoting connies4ever (Reply 20):
Question I have is that it appears as though the launches and traps were in a calm sea. I am wondering how it would perform in SS2 or 3, for example.

A production vehicle would advance step by step.. how many land based traps did this plane attempt before using an actual carrier.. I would guess quite a few from the number of lookie loos on the deck in close proximity to the test.


User currently offlinechecksixx From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 1071 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (9 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 6098 times:

Quoting Oroka (Reply 18):
Imagine a B-2 with 2 pilots and 2 UCLASS operators monitoring a unmanned strike package.

Where exactly would you put 2 more people in the B-2??


User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (9 months 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 6056 times:

Quoting checksixx (Reply 22):
Where exactly would you put 2 more people in the B-2??

In the bomb bay?


User currently offlineconnies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 13
Reply 24, posted (9 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 5988 times:

Quoting checksixx (Reply 22):
Quoting Oroka (Reply 18):
Imagine a B-2 with 2 pilots and 2 UCLASS operators monitoring a unmanned strike package.

Where exactly would you put 2 more people in the B-2??

Strap them in by the port-a-potty.  



Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
25 Post contains links kanban : looking at http://wallpoper.com/wallpaper/stealth-bomber-262100 there appears to be space behind the flight deck and below the refueling receptacle..
26 Oroka : I figure if you get some 4'12" pilots and UCLASS operators, you can miniaturize everything and fit them all in the same space, 2 stacked decks even!
27 rwessel : While I don't know the dimension of the B-2's bomb bay, the reconnaissance versions of the B-52 had a pod that got mounted in one of the bomb bays. I
28 GST : I agree it is doable, but I think you massively underestimate the structural reworking that would be necessary to put one or more operational ejector
29 Ozair : The tactical mindset of operating a near billion dollar stealth bomber, which is vital to the US nuclear triad, in a role that requires it to lose it
30 bikerthai : So what is the premise for having to have the operator of the UAV to be in close proximity to the UAV? Anti-jamming? Real time link? I mean, if you do
31 kanban : would provide a lot more crew space economically than a B-2. how about a new P-8 MAX?
32 Ozair : It is about delay and bandwidth. If you are happy with the half a second delay in the sat link then proximity doesn't matter, you also need the satco
33 Post contains images bikerthai : Either an E-2 or a P-8A would be reasonable as opposed to trying to add an operator console to a B-2. After all, if you are going stealth you want to
34 Oroka : If I was an advanced country engaging the US in a massive conflict, first shots would be GPS and communication satellites. Space debris be damned, my
35 Post contains links tommytoyz : http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...sumes-x-47b-flight-testing-393002/ Flight testing has resumed with carrier launches and trap landings on Nov 10
36 ThePointblank : Probably back at sea because they didn't finish the testing from the last sea trials due to a couple of glitches with the landing system. They probab
37 tommytoyz : No matter how you spin it, sounds to me like they want to refine this and spend the money to do it. Especially with the budget cuts and sequestration
38 Oroka : There was a story on flightglobal a while back that said the USN wanted to keep testing the X-47B. Really, it is a cost saving measure, as they can c
39 rwessel : It appears Congress is involved too - they wanted aerial refueling tests done, and they didn't happen. Apparently Congress has given the USN an Octob
40 tommytoyz : The UCAV concept makes too much sense to keep down. I think that's why testing continues with the X-47B. It's a concept that over delivers and is more
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