[Avionics Today April 11, 2014] The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR) X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) completed its first night flight over Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
The Navy completed a series of night flights with the X-47B. Photo of NAVAIR.
X-47B is one of several unmanned aircraft programs under development with the Navy's Unmanned Carrier-launched Surveillance and Strike program (UCLASS). In 2013, the aircraft, an X-47B demonstrator built by Northrop Grumman, achieved a number of significant firsts for Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations: it completed eight catapult launches from an aircraft carrier; 30 touch-and-goes; and seven arrested landings aboard Naval aircraft carriers.
The most recent test was a success for NAVAIR, testing the X-47B's ability to operate at night and also demonstrating the aircraft's unique lighting system.
The Navy plans on fielding its first UCLASS aircraft on a carrier deck by 2020.