VIDEO: Unmanned on Deck -- X-47B Taxis on Truman

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This is quite a sight - the US Navy's Northrop Grumman X-47B unmanned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D) taxiing around the flightdeck on the USS Truman while the aircraft carrier is under way off the east coast of the US.

The X-47B is being controlled via the wireless control display unit (CDU) strapped to the operator's forearm. The operator (in green) follows the flightdeck director's (in yellow) hand signals and uses the CDU to control engine thrust, nosewheel steering and mainwheel braking.


Picture and video: US Navy

This allows the UCAS-D to be maneuvered on the flightdeck in the same manner as manned aircraft. The deck trails with air vehicle AV-2 are part of the work-up to autonomous take-offs and landings on a carrier in 2013. AV-1 is conducting catapult launches onshore at Pax River, with arrested landings to begin early next year.

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