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U.S. Navy receives X-47B

Dec. 22, 2011 at 8:27 AM

PATUXENT RIVER, Md., Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman's tailless X-47B unmanned combat air system has been delivered to the U.S. Navy following a year of testing.

The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command said the aircraft -- the first fixed-wing unmanned aerial system designed for use from an aircraft carrier -- was tested at Edwards Air Force Base in California and then trucked to the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Md.

"The transition to Pax River is a highlight for the program," said Capt. Jaime Engdahl, Navy UCAS program manager. "We are working toward demonstrating the aircraft's ability to operate on and around an aircraft carrier."

The X-47B is 38.2 feet long and has a wingspan of 62.1 feet. It is powered by a Pratt and Whitney engine, cruises at subsonic speed, has a range of 2,100 nautical miles and can fly as high as 40,000 feet.

It also features two weapons bays for ordnance.

The X-47B first took to the air in February.

The Navy said the aircraft will undergo carrier suitability testing, including use with catapult and arresting gear.

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