For those that love the Predator and Reapers that are now flying around Afghanistan and other “unmanned drones” they are still be piloted by a REMOTE Pilot. It doesn’t always end well if contact with the pilot is lost with that human pilot in a trailer somewhere in the world.
The Navy’s new X-47B system slated to come online in late 2014. It will be deployed with a mouse click system, requiring LESS human interaction. This point and click won’t only make the plane easier to use to the point a person with little to know Flight experience can control it. It will also make the plane more reliable, removing human error or the plain not knowing what to do when it looses connection with it’s remote pilot.
A “Click” of the mouse,starts the engine. “Click”of the mouse to taxi, keep clicking and the plane will “take off and come home.” The plane will be all checked out by it’s deployment date on carrier landings as well as mid-air refueling. However no one is commenting on it’s capabilities for 100% autonomous weapons drop.
It’s maker Northrop Grumman, intended for this drone to be the first to fly off Nimitz class aircraft carriers and return to that same vessel. The craft which is being tested now at Edwards AFB, has slipped behind a bit in it’s testing, they had hoped to have been testing the carrier landing ability by now but see that happening in 2013.
With a payload of 4500lbs, Northrop Grumman hopes the X-47B will be an effective 100 percent autonomous weapons platform.