More Footage of the X-47B UCAS’ First Flight

If you can forgive the cheesy soundtrack, watch this additional footage of the history-making first flight of the Navy’s X-47B unmanned combat air vehicle demonstrator. Enjoy.

  • juan234

    How many of the x-47b (or whatever the ultimate carrier UCAV will be ) does the Navy hope to buy? How many UCAVs like this will be on each carrier in the 2020s-30s?

    • STemplar

      Squadron on a carrier deployed. Not sure if there would be one for every carrier or enough for just what’s deployed, hasn’t been anything that clearly spelled out. It needs to work first so they probably haven’t made any firm decisions until they know how well it works.

      Worth noting though l had read the USN was wargaming recently with them as a an operational given.

  • halcyon

    It’s very cool. I hope they can get it into service sometime before 2055.

  • Jacob

    Someone’s going to have to explain to me what the difference between UCAS and UCAV is….

    • juan234

      I’m pretty sure there is no difference. UCAS - Unmanned Combat Air System vs UCAV - Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle. They changed to UCAS to emphasize that you don’t just buy an unmanned plane but a whole system of plane + ground controller + people + etc, etc, etc. Probably to explain why the UCAVs cost more than the politicos expected.

      In the same way the Air Force prefers RPV to UAV. Remotely Piloted Vehicle. USAF really doesn’t like the term unmanned.

  • Rick

    This sounds like a great start. But I’m afraid I don’t know about it capabilities. Will they fly independently on solo mission or will they be a part of a strike package? Will they team up with F-18’s? Will they be remotely piloted or simply put on intelligent cruise control with pre-programmed objectives?

    • STemplar

      Yes, yes, sort of, yes, and yes.

  • Phil

    If you can forgive the cheesy soundtrack

    That’s a big ask.

  • 4prey

    Will it survive in case of communication blockage?

  • Anonymouse

    Chilluns Chilluns…
    1. The X-47B is a technology demonstrator (albeit a VERY mature example) -competititon and building in numbers comes later.
    2. RE: UCAS vs UCAV. Can be one and the same in theory, but a UCAS is typically the vehicle, ground station and comm/data links- i.e. the ‘system..
    3. Independent vs. controlled. X-47B is an autonomous vehicle. Like the Global Hawk, and even like the X-47A. the idea is to just push the ‘go’ button and watch it go and come back. You still have to pull chockes though. One can control from afar if one wishes, and no, unless it is an inside job an enemy is not going to ‘send it back home to momma’.

  • Sanem

    this is an experimental plane, like the x-35 was
    but in many ways it’s a mature aircraft, for example it uses a proven engine, and so is expected to be available as soon as 2018

    numbers will be a big issue. it’ll probably be around $50 million, but with better stealth and range than say an F-35 and certainly an F-18E, making it a serious budget contender

    operationally, the easiest thing will be to punch in fixed target’s coordinates and send it off; it’ll bomb the target and return, all by itself, like a re-usable cruise missile

    communication jamming isn’t as much a problem as one might think: a) Link-16 and satellite links can be very hard to detect, and impossible to jam; b) any nearby manned aircraft will be able to take over control, guaranteeing a good hit; c) in today’s wars, manned aircraft too need command clearance before engaging a target, so in this way a UCAV is not that much more vulnerable to a lost link than any manned aircraft

    and the exhaust is designed specifically to give off a very low heat signature, unlike the F-35