San Diego Business Journal

Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Drone Passes Milestone

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Northrop Grumman’s experimental, unmanned drone designed to fly off of aircraft carriers has passed another development milestone.

The boomerang-shaped X-47B recently made its first arrested landing, the type of landing that makes aircraft carrier operation feasible. The arrested landing involves snagging an aircraft’s tailhook on a cable stretched across the runway, which slows the aircraft dramatically.

The first arrested landing took place on shore, at the U.S. Navy base at Patuxent River, Md. It culminated three months of tests, which included touch-and-go landings.

The Navy will conduct flight tests on an actual aircraft carrier in the future.

Northrop’s unmanned aircraft center of excellence — and its engineering brainpower — is in Rancho Bernardo.

— SDBJ Staff Report