Unmanned X-47B bomber successfully completes first test-flight
Marking a major advancement in the history of warfare aviation, the X-47B unmanned stealth bomber successfully completed its first test-flight in California.
The X-47B UCAS-D (Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstration) took off from Edwards Air Force Base at around 5 p. m. EST on Friday, climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, and landed safely after remaining in the air for a total of 29 minutes.
Defense contractor Northrop Grumman, which manufactured the tailless unmanned aircraft said, "Taking off under hazy skies, the X-47B climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, flew several racetrack-type patterns, and landed safely at 2:38 PM PST."
The US Navy's UCAS-D program manager, Jaime Engdahl, said that the 29-minute flight allowed them to test the X-47B system's guidance, aerodynamic controls and navigation software.
The X-47B aircraft is 38 feet in length and a 62-foot in breadth. It will remain at Edwards Air Force Base for more test-flights before shifting to Naval Air Station Patuxent River sometime later this year.
The aircraft's stealth features makes it difficult for rivals to track it in the sky.
The $635.8 million UCAS-D program is slated for completion by 2013.
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