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.... so the 'Yellowshirts', supercarrier deck controllers, can maneuver them like a pilot normally would. A necessary step before carrier ops testing starts next year.

One more step towards fielding very stealthy drone fighter-bomber squadrons, and robotic wingmen for manned fighters & bombers that can do maneuvers no human attacker could ever survive.

Any resemblances to the autonomous drone in the film "Stealth" are not accidental - the debate is already on as to how much autonomy to give these hunter-killers, especially given their very long range, high armaments capacity, and recently demonstrated ability to refuel from other drones.

[url=http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?do=main.textpost&id=59e33bde-a9ce-4948-80b2-db1d4dd6fcfa]Link....[/url]

[quote][b]Maneuvers With Handheld Controller Build Confidence For Future Trials On Carrier Deck[/b]

UAV carrier ops took another notch forward recently, as the U.S. Navy took the first critical step toward demonstrating that the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) demonstrator can be maneuvered safely and wirelessly on the crowded deck of an aircraft carrier.



In early November, the team successfully completed its first shore-based trials of a new wireless, handheld device called a Control Display Unit (CDU). Developed by Northrop Grumman, the device will allow deck operators to maneuver the X-47B by remote control on the carrier deck. The team demonstrated the CDU's ability to control the X-47B's engine thrust; to roll the aircraft forward, brake and stop; to use its nose wheel steering to execute tight, precision turns; and to maneuver the aircraft efficiently into a catapult or out of the landing area following a mock carrier landing. Northrop Grumman is the Navy's prime contractor for the UCAS Carrier Demonstration (UCAS-D) program.

"The CDU is fundamental to integrating the X-47B seamlessly into carrier deck operations," said Daryl Martis, Northrop Grumman's UCAS-D test director. "It will allow us to move the aircraft quickly and precisely into the catapult for launch, or out of the landing area following recovery. Both of these activities are essential to maintaining the rhythm of the flight deck."

In practice, a deck operator will work in tandem with the flight deck director

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