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Navy tests software for automated carrier landing capability

A new software that automates much of the process for landing F-18 fighters onto aircraft carriers has been tested at sea by the U.S. Navy.

By
Richard Tomkins
An F/A-18 Hornet lands on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Luke Williams.
An F/A-18 Hornet lands on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Luke Williams.

NORFOLK, Va., April 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has field tested an automated landing software system for carrier-borne F/A-18 and E/A-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft.

The software tested at sea aboard the USS George H.W. Bush is called MAGIC CARPET, an acronym for Maritime Augmented Guidance with Integrated Controls for Carrier Approach and Recovery Precision Enabling Technologies.

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"This underway marked the first use of the MAGIC CARPET technology on an aircraft carrier," said Lt. Cmdr. Dan Marzluff, assistant air operations officer aboard the carrier. "This software greatly reduces misses and wave-offs, which translates into more time on-mission and makes us an overall more effective force."

The Navy said MAGIC CARPET software, designed for F/A-18E/F/G aircraft, automatically adjusts the jet's speed and angle of approach to the carrier, allowing the pilot to focus on the approach glide slope.

"The majority of flight operations with the system were touch-and-goes," said Marzluff. "We didn't have to actually land to determine how the software takes the aircraft to the flight deck."

The software's flight control algorithms were developed by Naval Air Systems Command and the Office of Naval Research. The software is planned for deployment by 2019.

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