The U.S. Navy’s unmanned combat air system demonstrator has taken two key steps toward demonstrating autonomous operation from an aircraft carrier at sea next summer. On Nov. 29, the first Northrop Grumman X-47B air vehicle, AV-1, made its first catapult launch from a land-based test facility at NAS Patuxent River, Md. A second launch was planned for Nov. 30. Earlier in the week, on Nov. 26, the second X-47B—AV-2—was hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier USS Truman at NAS Norfolk, ...

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