[May 19 2013 USS George H. W. Bush: Northrop Grumman X-47B launches,touch and go
The program cost is $1.4billion over eight years. A planned variant of the craft, the X-47C will have a larger payload provision of 10,000lbs and a wingspan of 172ft.
[June 22 2011]
The aircraft was conducting a targeting mission, meaning it was using its onboard sensor package to lase a target for another aircraft, the program source says.
The aircraft was launched from the USS Halyburton frigate during a deployment to support anti-piracy and littoral missions around the Middle East. The ship was recently diverted to support the NATO mission in Libya, . Two Fire Scouts were deployed on the Halyburton earlier this year.
Last year, a Fire Scout lost communications with its ground station during a test flight out of NAS Patuxent River, Md. The incident drew national attention because an anomaly occurred that allowed the aircraft to slowly head into restricted airspace 40 mi. away from Washington, which is under strict airspace rules. Flight testing of the Fire Scout restarted last September after about a six-week testing pause owing to the incident; a fix has been implemented.
The testing standdown pushed back timing for a formal operational evaluation slated for last fall. Instead, Navy officials opted to deploy the Fire Scouts for operations on the Halyburton. Aviation Week
A team of Northrop Grumman engineers and operators on board the ship helped re-familiarize Navy operators with Fire Scout’s control systems. Northrop Grumman is the Navy’s Fire Scout prime contractor.