Northrop Grumman's X-47B naval unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator has performed its first flight with raised landing gear in its cruise configuration.

The flight, conducted at Edwards Air Force Base in California on 30 September, was also used to check the aircraft's precision guidance systems.

"[The] flight gave us our first clean look at the aerodynamic cruise performance of the X-47B and it is proving out all of our predictions," said Janis Pamiljans, vice-president and Navy UCAS programme manager for Northrop Grumman.


 © Northrop Grumman

"Reaching this critical test point demonstrates the growing maturity of the air system, and its readiness to move to the next phase of flight testing."

Aircraft will begin transitioning to Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Maryland, in late 2011 to begin shore-based carrier suitability testing in 2012.

Source: Flight International