X-47B Video


As promised, here’s some video of the X-47B unmanned technology demonstrator at sea.

Mind you, this is just a technology demonstrator. It’s primarlily a tool to learn lessons. One thing they know is that they’ll have to be a lot quicker getting the bird out of the landing area. You can see it takes a moment for the hook to disengage from the wire. It looks like they had to jerk the wire a bit to get it disengaged. It also took quite  a while to taxi out of the landing area and fold the wings. A typical manned jet like a Hornet would be out and folded in just a few seconds. From yesterday’s press release, that’s one thing they’re working on.

About these ads

13 Comments

Filed under navy

13 responses to “X-47B Video

  1. Surfcaster

    That is combined fantastically cool, fantastically useful, and fantastically scary all wrapped up in one.

    Like

  2. I wonder who’s controlling it, and from where. Certainly they don’t have an AI watching the deck hands and reacting, do they?

    Like

    • Wandering Neurons

      The X-47B is ground-guided by a handler with a remote console. Think of it as a giant RC airplane on the ground.
      And the darn thing is really big, I drive by them going to work every few days.

      Like

    • Once it’s on deck, as Wandering notes, there’s a ground controller. He’s next to the Yellowshirt taxi director. It seems a bit odd, but the Navy decided to have the Yellowshirt give all the normal taxi hand signals, and have the handler next to him execute them. The reason they are doing it that way is because other people on the flight deck can then anticipate the UAVs next move, improving safety.

      I’m curious how many controllers they’ll have to have when multiple UAVs are moving on deck.

      Like

    • Stormy

      My understanding is they are working toward having the beast see, understand, and respond to standard deck hand signals. So, the other reason the yellowshirt makes all the same hand movements is because they are working to tune the algorithms. What a wickedly difficult problem with all sorts of potential traps to fall into.

      Like

    • It seems a bit odd, but the Navy decided to have the Yellowshirt give all the normal taxi hand signals, and have the handler next to him execute them. The reason they are doing it that way is because other people on the flight deck can then anticipate the UAVs next move, improving safety.

      I think the idea is that they want the X-47B to be handled “just like any other airplane” – i.e., the Yellowshirt tells it where to go using the same signals as for a manned aircraft. They did not want to create a slew of new procedures, as this would raise addition barriers to the Navy adopting it.

      Like

  3. SFC Dunlap 173d RVN

    Northrop’s flying wing proves itself again, and again… It should be noted that when the Flying Wing was in USAF livery it could out turn then USAF fighters in existence. It was the USAF that killed the flying wing bomber in order to have the B-36 Peacemaker. The US Navy to my memory hasn’t killed off a flying wing…ever. A nod here to the Horst brothers.

    Like

  4. SFC Dunlap 173d RVN

    Ah the Avenger II, and, did it fly and if so beyond a prototype proof of concept? I submit the YB-49 was operational with the USAF while the A-12 (not the precursor to the SR-71 A-12), never reached “operational” status as such wasn’t truly killed by the US Navy but rather the SECDEF. I’m trying to give you Navy types a compliment.

    Like

    • The YB-49 was in service test, as opposed to operational.

      The A-12 never flew. The Fort Worth Air Museum is in the process of restoring the only full scale mockup, however. Beyond the A-12, I can’t even think of any Navy flying wing designs.

      Like

    • NaCly Dog

      The A-12 canx was steetled this year. Billions of dollars were the line for the cancellation decision, but after a boatload of lawyer bills, Boeing and General Dynamics agreeing to pay $200 million each to the U.S. Navy.

      Like

  5. NaCly Dog

    The lawsuit on the A-12 cancellation was settled in January 2014.

    Like

  6. SFC Dunlap 173d RVN

    So much for my paltry attempt to paint hands guilt free. I was surprised to learn of the tornado that struck Carswell AFB late 50’s that made 2/3rds of the USAF fleet of B-36’s NMC. God’s hand I say redeeming of Mr. Northrop’s brilliant ideas, certainly for the time.

    Like