Award celebrates achievement of first autonomous taxiing, catapult launch and landing on an aircraft carrier by an unmanned vehicle
Honeywell Aerospace (NYSE: HON) customers Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have been awarded the 2013 Collier Trophy. The award recognizes outstanding engineering, manufacturing, and the demonstration of the X-47B aircraft and its ability to autonomously operate from and perform arrested landings on an aircraft carrier.
The X-47B is outfitted with numerous Honeywell technologies including Honeywell’s H-764 Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System (EGI). The EGIs on both the aircraft and aircraft carrier provide key inertial and navigation sensors, enabling an accurate, autonomous approach and landing. Honeywell’s EGI performance was critical in enabling the X-47B to make the first successful autonomous landing of an unmanned aircraft on a moving aircraft carrier.
“Landing on an aircraft carrier as it heaves, sways and surges with the waves is an extremely difficult feat for even the most seasoned naval aviator. The X-47B with Honeywell’s navigation products onboard was able to achieve this without any human interaction. This is truly a momentous occasion for all of the aerospace industry,” said Mike Madsen, president, Defense and Space, Honeywell Aerospace. “We are honored to have played a role in assisting the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman in winning this prestigious award.”
Honeywell also provides the environmental control system (ECS) and auxiliary power generation system (AGPS) for the X-47B. The ECS helps control the temperature of all critical onboard avionics and electronics, while the AGPS provides pneumatic power to start the engine and backup power for all electrical systems.
What is an EGI?
First introduced in the 1990s, the EGI navigation system combined Global Positioning System (GPS) and Inertial Navigation System (INS) technologies and set a new standard in accuracy, far surpassing the performance of the standalone inertial units commonly used at the time. The continued evolution of Honeywell’s EGI contributed to this historic leap forward in navigation capability.
Honeywell EGIs are currently used on many military aircraft including the C-17, F-18, C-130J, F-15, C-5, UH-60M, CH-47F, AH-64, H-1, C-2, CH-46D, CH-53E, A-10 and F-16.
About the Collier Trophy
The Robert J. Collier Trophy is awarded annually “for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.” The list of Collier winners represents a timeline of aviation, as many of the awardees mark major events in the history of flight. The first autonomous landing of the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) on a moving aircraft carrier occurred in July 2013.