Northrop Grumman rolled out the first of the Navy’s unmanned combat aircraft system vehicles at a Dec. 16 ceremony at one of its production facilities in Palmdale, Calif. In a company statement, Scott Winship, Northrop VP and UCAS program manager, described the X-47B aircraft as a “sea change in military aviation.” It took just over a year for the Northrop team to assemble the aircraft after receiving the demonstration program contract in August 2007. Navy Capt. Martin Deppe, the service’s UCAS program manager, called the X-47B “a necessary first step” that would lead to the introduction of “a new long-range, persistent, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR)-strike capability” for the carriers of tomorrow. Following subsystem and structural testing, Northrop expects the X-47B to fly for the first time next fall, with sea trials slated to begin in late 2011. The company already is performing initial assembly for a second X-47B that it expects to complete next year. The program started out as a joint effort between the Navy and Air Force, but the last Quadrennial Defense Review ceded the J-UCAS to the Navy alone.
May 23, 2022
The Department of the Air Force announced the retirements of several key leaders within the Air Force and Space Force on May 23, while also unveiling more than a dozen new assignments for current or future one-star generals.