X47B Unmanned Fighter Drone Makes First Landing on US Navy Aircraft Carrier

X47B Unmanned Fighter Drone Makes First Landing on US Navy Aircraft Carrier

August 6, 2013

The unmanned prototype launched from the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland, performed a 35-minute flight and then landed on the USS George H.W. Bush off the coast of Virginia. The aircraft successfully performed a maneuver known as “arrested landing,” which involved catching a wire on board the ship with a deployed tail hook, bringing the aircraft to a quick stop. The task is considered to be one of the most challenging for a human pilot, due to constant movement of the ship and the turbulent air around it. The procedure was performed exclusively by the drone’s built-in computer program.

Honeywell provides navigation and power generation technologies for the X-47B including the enhanced GPS/INS (EGI), environmental control system, air turbine starter and the auxiliary power generating system. The hardware is manufactured in Torrance, Calif., Clearwater, Fla., Phoenix, Ariz., and Tempe, Ariz.

“Since the X-47B program began in 2007, Honeywell has been a proud member of the joint industry team,” says Christine Milford, Director of Business Development, Honeywell Aerospace. “We are pleased to have played a part in this historic technical achievement.”

What sets the X-47B apart from most of today's combat drones is that it is stealthy and jet-powered. The aircraft has a 62-foot wingspan and can fly higher than 40,000 feet. It has a range of more than 2,400 miles and can reach high subsonic speeds.